Inside look at Tennessee's Orange Carpet Day event
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee held its Orange Carpet Day event Saturday and the Vols once again were able to attract a number of the nation's elite prospects.
The headliners included 2016 commit Jarrett Guarantano, 2016 five-star running back Tavien Feaster, 2016 five-star receiver Kyle Davis and 2016 in-state star Joejuan Williams, among others.
The biggest news from the group listed came from Feaster, the nation's top ranked all-purpose back, according to 247Sports. A U.S. Army All-American Game selection for 2016, Feaster has been committed to Clemson since February but told Volquest ($) he would be re-evaluating his recruitment after the visit to Tennessee's campus. While Feaster is from South Carolina, his home is close enough to Knoxville that the travel time to campus is similar to the one to Death Valley.
Possibly the biggest recruit in attendance was 247Sports Composite 2017 five-star quarterback Hunter Johnson. Johnson recently earned his five-star status, and sources say the Tennessee coaching staff strongly believes he is the nation's top prospect for 2017.
If Johnson lives up to the hype, he could change the landscape of the SEC. The Tennessee coaching staff feels it has as strong a chance at landing Johnson as Notre Dame or Florida State, the schools said to be his favorites.
Johnson was shown Tennessee's new virtual reality system, similar to this one described in great detail by FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman, and came away blown away by the technology. Ole Miss is the only other school in the SEC to currently have access to the virtual-reality tech.
Tennessee has video engineers currently developing new and unique ways to utilize the technology that no other school in the nation has the capability or knowledge of at this point. In an interesting note, coaches said that a number of teams have attempted to hire away these engineers to bring the technology to their school, only to be turned down.
The virtual-reality system and innovations the Tennessee team creates could be the elements that push the Vols past the rest of the country in Johnson's recruitment.
Tennessee's recruiting headquarters is known as "The Bullpen." Have you wondered how prospects come to be on the Vols' radar?
The team has seven desks set up for recruiting evaluators in The Bullpen, where employees watch film around the clock: via YouTube, via submissions, various Internet sites, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Once a member of the team identifies a player with some potential, he reports this to the manager of The Bullpen. If the manager agrees the prospect is worth an in-depth look, he passes it to the coaching staff.
Butch Jones and his staff have been able to pinpoint high-caliber players that may not have made the national radar.
One question on the minds of many Tennessee fans: How do the freshmen on the defensive line look?
Expectations are sky high, thanks in large part to the incredible recruiting haul: elite prospects Shy Tuttle, Kahlil McKenzie and Kyle Phillips are all expected to play this season on the heels of Derek Barnett's impact last season.
The coaching staff sees great potential in their freshmen up front but believes enthusiasm for outstanding results should be curbed in year one. After all, these young players will be at a huge disadvantage in terms of strength and conditioning, not to mention experience and understanding of college offenses and their own defensive system.
The best line from the coaching staff in regards to their approach on coaching these freshmen this season? One coach said he'll tell his players, "You see that man in front of you? Go beat his (expletive) ass."