Varsity Preps

Tennessee Top 20 Countdown: 20-16

After many delays, expected and unexpected, I am finally ready to reveal my version of the top 20 recruits in the state of Tennessee for the class of 2014. As I’ve said before, the quality of prospects is higher than ever in Tennessee, and the numbers of qualified recruits is up from Memphis to Knoxville. Tennessee is quickly rising among the hotbeds for recruiting in the Southeast, and is drawing attention from schools on the west coast, the northernmost reaches of the country, and everywhere in between. Many are familiar with the likes of Jalen Hurd, Josh Malone, and Todd Kelly Jr, but there are quite a few others that are on the same “playing field”. Without further delay, here’s the first installment of the Top 20 Countdown:

#20: Bruno Reagan, OL Bruno is a Guard out of Clarksville, TN (Clarksville). He’s rated as a 5.5 3* by Rivals.com, but his versatility makes him a valuable get. At 6’3″ 288lb, he’s off to a great start with his build, but has the frame to really fill in and be a huge blocker up front. He also plays on the defensive line for CHS. Bruno Wrestles in the winter months at Clarksville, appearing in the TSSAA State Finals. Adding to Reagan’s talents as a football player and wrestler, he’s an 8-time national champion in Judo. His tape shows that he is a very physical and mobile guard, and is a very smart player when it comes to reading what the defense throws his way. He’s been recruited heavily in both football and wrestling, including offers to wrestle from Big 10 programs. His football offer list included Georgia St, Middle Tennessee, UConn, Tenn St, and Western Kentucky, along with his commitment choice, South Florida. Look for Reagan’s stock to rise after his senior season, and for in-state schools Vanderbilt and Tennessee to pursue him, with both needing to add depth on the line(s). The below clip is from Nike Memphis NFTC against Ark commit Bijhon Jackson.

#19: Nikia Cathey, ATH Next on the list is Nikia Cathey, out of Westwood High in Memphis. The 5’9″ 177lb athlete has been recruited by many as a WR/CB and as a return specialist. Memphis has always been a strong city for football talent, and this kid fits the bill. He’s fast, averaging more than 40 yds combined per return. Cathey also has a knack for creating points on special teams, scoring 3 TDs on returns in 2012. He’s been used as a rusher and receiver, but in both cases, that same speed was apparent, gaining a combined 704 yds and scoring six times on only 49 touches. A long-time Mississippi State commit, Nikia rescinded his commitment on July 23rd. The Bulldogs continue to be the only SEC offerfor this 5.5 3*, but his offer list includes MAC champion Northern Illinois, Big !0 member Indiana, South Alabama, and in-state schools Austin Peay and MTSU. Cathey will likely end up in a non-BCS program if not at MSU, but it’s possible that other programs looking to recruit in the Southeast will find this speedy hidden gem.

#18: Paul Adams, OL My pick for 18th-best prospect in Tennessee is Offensive Tackle Paul Adams, out of Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville. Adams is a 5.5 3* according to Rivals.com and has been a Missouri Commit since May 17th. Adams is a big guy for a high schooler, listed at 6’6″ and 270lb. He’s another versatile lineman, having played both sides for CPA, but his future his set on the offensive line. An excellent blocker, he’s an especially tough kid to get around, not only because of his size, but his tactical approach to defending against opposing lineman. He’s a cerebral player, and has enough mobility to move upfield with the runner to create down-field blocks, as well as move side-to-side to solidify his QB’s pocket. Before choosing Mizzou, his finalists were a trio of SEC members in UM, Ole Miss, and Miss St. Along with the SEC schools, AAC teams Cincinnati and South Florida extended offers to Adams. He drew some interest from Vandy and Tennessee, but didn’t receive offers from either. I expect that to change as the 2013 season plays out and Adams’ impressive highlight reel expands.

#17: Aaron Medley, K Kickers are always intriguing prospects because there isn’t enough to grade for recruiting services to really dedicate someone to analyzing them. Regardless, I think the state has two very good kickers and the first is Aaron Medley, out of Marshall County HS in Lewisburg. He has been rated as the top kicker by multiple outlets, and listed as the 4th best kicker overall by Rivals. As a junior, his longest FG that he made was an impressive 50yds. Medley hit 27 or 30 PATs and in punting duties, his net average was 40.3yds. Aaron had offers from Oklahoma and Texas A&M before earning an offer from Tennessee during a weekend visit. The very next day, on May 22nd, he committed to the Volunteers.

#16: Gary Wunderlich, K The next kicker is Gary Wunderlich out of Memphis University School in Memphis. The top player at his position according to Rivals, is listed by many outlets as the top punter in the nation. Gary has been a long-time Cavaliers commit after receiving offers from Virginia, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M. He has appeared, along with Medley, in many kicking camps across the country, including the Kohls camp, where he and Medley took best and second-best honors in both kicking and punting. I don’t think that Wunderlich will be swayed from UVA, as they are in dire need of another K/P, and Gary is a smart kid, and it will fit in well academically at Virginia.

I will continue the Top 20 Countdown with #15-11, coming soon. And by soon, I mean a lot sooner than this last “soon”. As always, I look forward to any input from you, the reader!

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