Varsity Preps

Tennessee Top 20 Countdown: #5-1

The time has finally come! The Tennessee Top 20 Countdown of the best prospects in the Class of 2014 is coming to a conclusion…with the unveiling of the “fab” five in Tennessee. It’s been hard to analyze these prospects and order them, because they all deserve to be #1. But the work had to be done, so without further adieu, here we go!

#5: Petera Wilson, LB The prospect just making the cut at #5 is linebacker Petera Wilson, out of White Station HS in Memphis. Wilson is BIG. He is 6’3″ and a large 220lbs. He has a tremendous frame that would allow him to gain weight if he needed to, but it would be at the risk of losing the explosive speed he brings to a “power” position. Wilson is a superb athlete and has excellent skills defensively. He is a strong tackler and has great striking ability, and he has a knack for being able to react to just about anything the offense throws at him. His only “weakness” would be his play in space. Sometimes when hes isolated and has a few options to cover, he doesn’t make a decision fast enough. With that being said though, his instincts are pretty good, and he is an above average lateral mover. His recruitment is still wide open and he has offers from 12 schools, including powers such as Alabama, Florida St, Florida, Georgia, and LSU. Other big name offers are Miss St, Ole Miss, Nebraska, UCLA and USC. In-state schools Memphis and Tennessee have also offered Petera. Right now the talk is that he will stay in Memphis and play for the Tigers, which would be a huge get for them, but Ole Miss and Tennessee are becoming major players as well. The school that gets Wilson is going to get an athlete that will give 100% on every play and with the right coaching, could be a future all-american.

#4: Alex Bars, OL Next on the list is another big lineman out of central Tennessee. Alex Bars is a tackle from Montogmery Bell Academy in Nashville. He is 6’6″ and 287lbs. Bars has excellent size for a lineman his age, and his frame suggests he could add even some more weight. For a big guy, he has excellent athleticism and can effeciently block on both running and passing plays. Alex is quick off the snap, almost always being the first to engage an opposing lineman. His footwork is strong for someone his size, but it is not much above average. Bars has been a Notre Dame commit since May. He has continued to build up offers however, earning 24 to date. That’s a staggering number for a lineman, but he is a special kind of athlete. Some of the bigger names on his offer list are FLorida, FSU, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan, Stanford, and Texas A&M. Both SEC schools Vanderbilt and Tennessee have also offered Alex.

#3: Todd Kelly Jr, S Todd Kelly Jr makes my top three list, and he is a safety out of the Webb School in Knoxville. He is the son of former Vol Todd Kelly, and he looks a lot like his dad. Kelly Jr is 6’1″ 200lbs. He plays both ways for the Spartans, playing WR on offense. But most teams want him to play in their secondary because of his ball-hogging skills and his speed to get to the ball. Todd has incredible instincts and mobility, and is a fundamental tackler. One knock on him is his size, but he could stand to gain some weight in a college conditioning program. At the next level, Kelly has the chance to be the next Eric Berry, a speedy playmaker with a knack for finding the football in his hands. He has been a long-time Tennessee commit, and has received offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Cal, Clemson, Duke, UF, FSU, Georgia, UofL, Miss St, Nebraska, UNC, OSU, Ok St, Ole Miss, TTU, UCLA, USC, Vandy, Virginia, VT, and Washington. He has visited Tennessee 7 times since Butch Jones took over as the Vols’ head coach.

#2: Josh Malone, WR: Coming in second is WR Josh Malone, out of Station Camp HS in Gallatin. At 6’5″ 190lbs, it’s easy to see why a lot of schools want him on their team. He runs a sub-4.5 40 time, and has great hands. His size benefits him as he can be a physical player since his is bigger than many of the DBs he goes up against. His route running is awesome, and he can maneuver himself out of hairy situations thanks to his excellent agility. One knock on him that he doesn’t quite have breakaway speed, and doesn’t accumulate YAC consistently. Malone’s recruitment is still open. His top three is Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida St, but Clemson and Vanderbilt are still players for his commitment. Many recruiting analysts think that eventually he will pick the Vols because his size is desired of WR in Butch Jones’ system. He attended the Clemson/Georgia game over the weekend.

#1: Jalen Hurd, RB I don’t think anyone came into this doubting that Jalen Hurd was the best player in the state of Tennessee this year. This Beech product set the state record for rushing yards last season and was on a mission to break his own record before tearing his labrum in his season opener. Hurd is a physical runner, with bursts of speed, particularly in open space. He’s big for a running back, but with him being compared to Eddie George, it’s easy to look past that. Hurd is 6’3″ 220lbs. He’s listed by many sites as the best player in TN, and a top 5 ATH. He is a perfect multi-purpose back, with the speed to break free and the size/power to bulldoze opponents. He can catch the ball pretty well too. His vision is really good. There aren’t a lot of attributes that Jalen has that you could say are average. He is a great player and Tennessee is extremely lucky to have him committed to them. He has been a Vol commit for a long time and plans on enrolling in January. Hurd will not play the remainder of his senior season at Beech for precautionary reasons. Other heavy hitters for Jalen’s services included Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

There you have it! That is my ranking of the top 20 players in Tennessee in the class of 2014. Feel free to leave comments below if you agree/disagree with my rankings. Now that this project is complete, I will begin work on a recruiting update for the FBS schools in Tennessee, and begin to look at some big players in Tennessee in the class of 2015. Stay Tuned!

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