Tennessee signing class gets boost from late additions
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee's signing class gained an infusion of highly regarded talent and a Florida flavor in the final 48 hours of the recruiting cycle.
Safety Nigel Warrior and junior-college defensive end Jonathan Kongbo – two of Tennessee's highest-rated recruits – didn't finalize their college decisions until Wednesday.
''We still felt there was room for more speed, more athleticism and we were going to swing the bat,'' Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. ''It wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment decision by these individuals.''
Tennessee also boosted its class this week with the additions of cornerback Tyler Byrd and wide receiver Latrell Williams, who both had been committed to Miami before changing their minds.
Some other things to know:
Top 25 Class: Yes
Best in class: Warrior is rated as a five-star prospect by Scout, which had him as the nation's No. 20 overall recruit. 247Sports and ESPN also had him in their top 100. He's the son of former Tennessee and NFL defensive back Dale Carter. Kongbo, who redshirted one year at Wyoming before transferring to Arizona Western College, is rated as the nation's No. 1 overall junior-college prospect by 247Sports. Kongbo has three years of eligibility remaining.
Best of the rest: Byrd is rated as a top-100 recruit by most recruiting services. Jarrett Guarantano of Lodi, New Jersey, is rated among the nation's top five dual-threat quarterbacks in his class.
Late additions: Warrior's morning announcement gave Tennessee a good start to signing day. The addition of Byrd and Williams shows that Tennessee's hire of former Miami interim head coach Larry Scott already may be paying off. Scott joined Tennessee's staff as a tight ends coach last month. Kongbo verbally committed to Tennessee in November, reopened his recruitment last month and then announced Wednesday he'd be joining the Vols after all.
How they'll fit in: Kongbo could contribute as a pass-rushing complement to Derek Barnett, who has recorded 10 sacks each of the last two seasons. Tennessee replaces its two starting safeties from last season, so Warrior will have a chance to contribute right away. Byrd also has a chance to play immediately, whether it's on special teams or defense. Tennessee didn't get huge production from its wideouts last season, so junior-college receiver Jeff George could get an early look.