Varsity Preps

Tennessee Top 20 Countdown: #15-11

You saw the title and clicked on the link so you obviously know what it’s time for; the next installment of the Tennessee class of 2014 top 20 prospect countdown! This time I’m showcasing #15-11 as we continue our way down to the state’s best high school senior. So let’s get to it and start things off with a versatile athlete!

#15: A.J. Long, ATH Coming in at 15 is Friendship Christian School’s A.J. Long, from Lebanon. This 5.6 3*, according to Rivals, is listed as an athlete, but has spent most of his time as the QB at FCS. At 6’1″ 190lb, he has the frame to fit in a variety of playing positions on the field, but is likely best-suited to be involved in the passing game, whether as a QB or receiver. Under center at FCS, Long has been a deadly dual-threat QB, and his stats back that up. In 2012, he completed 61% of his passes for 2,476yds and 37 TDs to only ONE INT. On the ground he added 669 yds and 12 more scores. When it comes to his recruitment, he has been a long-time Syracuse commit, which is a bit surprising for a Tennessee kid. He has drawn interest from a lot of FBS programs, though Syracuse and Arizona were the largest names. The Orange created a lot of interest for Long after offering to keep him as a Quarterback. Other offers A.J. has received to this point include Arizona, Buffalo, UMass, Lafayette, Ohio, USF, Southern Miss, Temple, and Western Kentucky.

#14: Jashon Robertson, DT This 6’3″ 286lb physical specimen has been surprisingly overlooked by many programs. Even Tennessee, a school with some major needs along both lines hasn’t shown much interest in this Nashville kid. Jashon is a senior at Montgomery Bell Academy, where he plays on both lines, as a DT and an OG. He is very athletic for a high school lineman, with the ability to hold defenders back as a guard, or the ability to power his way through an offensive line while going after the ball carrier. His decision-making is suspect at times, but it doesn’t show too often at the high school level, because of his pure dominance physically. His academic standing could play a role in the lack of attention headed his way, it’s tough to tell. But if he has another stellar year on the line, he could receive many more offers. At this time, his only offer has come from Vanderbilt, and he has been committed since June 19th.

#13: Cornelius Sturghill, ATH Sturghill, a 5’11” 170lb athlete out of famous Melrose high school in Memphis, is a young man with some extreme speed and athleticism. And he has a lot of it. Sturghill may not seem like a threat because of his small stature, but his tape reveals an athletic freak of nature who can explode on opposing teams and turn on a dime. He’ll be somewhat of a project wherever he ends up because of his size, but I think the program that earns this kid’s commitment is going to get a diamond in the rough, who could be a real game changer down the road. His recruitment is still open, but has been narrowing down. His top two schools are in-state program Vanderbilt, and UCLA, with many believing that UCLA is the front-runner. Sturghill’s other BCS offers are Purdue and Mississippi State, with Tennessee having shown interest in the Athlete.

#12: Devin Perry, WR Another Memphis University School product, Devin Perry is a 6’2″ 180lb WR out of the West Tennessee city. Perry is a speedy athlete, with the ability to break free in space. His route running could use some improvement, but is still another thing that separates him from the competition on the same playing field. He has the frame to put on a few pounds, but he is a well-suited athlete as is. In the spring he runs on the track team, and in the 2013 state meet, he finished 4th in the 100 meter dash, with a time of 10.78 seconds, proving his raw speed and acceleration abilities. His recruitment is still wide open, and he’s drawn interest from a lot of big time programs. The top 5 programs for Perry at this time are Mississippi, Miss St, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Florida, who hasn’t actually offered Perry. His other offers are Ark St, MTSU, Indiana, and Louisville. Both Tennessee and Arkansas have shown extensive interest in Devin, but have not extended offers at this time.

#11: Michael Sawyers, DT This is where the recruits REALLY start to get highly competitive. Sawyers was/is a heavily recruited prospect, and it’s easy to see why. The 6’2″ 307lb product out of Ensworth in Nashville is a dominating presence on the defensive line. He’s big and strong, with more than enough power to shred a block and put some punishing hits on the ball carrier. He also has an unusual amount of speed for someone his size. He will benefit from a collegiate conditioning program, where he will be able to drop pounds of fat and replace them with pure muscle, increasing his strength and power output, but even at his current state he has plenty. He is currently committed to Vanderbilt, but other programs haven’t stopped calling. And why should they? The program that gets Sawyers is getting a real game changer on the D line for at least the next three years. Michael is the first prospect I’ve seen that has a real future on Sundays, and not just on special teams. He has many, and I mean many offers. They are Vanderbilt, Arizona State, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami(FL), Ole Miss, Miss St, Missouri, Nebraska, NC State, Purdue, Tennessee, Washington, and Washington State. In the weeks before his commitment, Tennessee and Vanderbilt were the major players for Sawyers. Tennessee is still recruiting him hard, and whenever this much attention is paid to a prospect, a flip is always possible.

Now you’ve seen the first half of my Top 20 rankings for the prospects of Tennessee in the class of 2014. Look for the rankings to really get competitive as I go through the Top 10 counting down to the best prospect in the state. Stay tuned!

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