Tennessee’s 2014 recruiting class has been entrenched for months in the top five of 247Sports’ team rankings.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones' staff has compiled 33 commitments to date for the Vols' 2014 recruiting class, which currently is ranked No. 3 in 247Sports' team rankings.
Even after losing four-star defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert — who had been committed to Tennessee for more than four months before signing with Auburn on Wednesday — the Vols are ranked No. 3 in 247Sports’ rankings, which are based on the industry-generated 247Sports Composite.
But will they stay there until signing day?
History suggests, based on where Tennessee’s class currently stands, that the Vols are likely to slide a few spots in the team rankings.
With 33 commitments to date — the most among all Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams — UT appears unlikely to add more than a few more players to its class leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 5.
Other teams that now are behind the Vols in the rankings, meanwhile, are likely to continue picking up commitments and could end up surpassing Tennessee.
LSU, for instance, currently is the favorite to land five more uncommitted, five-star prospects, according to 247Sports’ Crystal Ball. Adding all five would give the Tigers a team score of 303.11 points in the 247Sports team rankings, which would give them a realistic chance of challenging Alabama for the nation’s No. 1 class.
Florida State and Auburn also could vault past Tennessee if they’re able to land the remaining targets for whom they’re currently favored on the Crystal Ball. And it’s still not out of the question that a few other teams, including Georgia, could catch the Vols.
Tennessee’s current team score of 271.83 points in the 247Sports team rankings would have finished ninth nationally in the team rankings for the 2011 and 2013 class and eighth in the 2012 team rankings. The Vols’ current average score of 89.18 points per commitment also is lower than the average score for every team that has finished in the top seven in 247Sports’ team rankings since 2011.
It’s still possible, though, that Tennessee could improve its team score before signing day by adding another highly ranked prospect or two. Five-star cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and five-star athlete Bo Scarbrough are among the Vols’ top remaining targets, and landing either would give UT a mathematical chance of staying in the top five.
Adjustments to prospect rankings in the 247Sports Composite over the next several weeks also could help — or hurt — Tennessee’s team score.
For now, don’t count on the Vols finishing with a top-five class. They likely would need to add another highly ranked prospect — perhaps a five-star — to their class to have a realistic chance of remaining close to their current ranking, and while that’s still not out of the question, it appears a bit unlikely at the moment.
At the very least, Tennessee should finish with its first top-10 class since 2010. But look for the Vols to end up somewhere between No. 6 and No. 8 in the 247Sports team rankings, barring any major surprises between now and signing day.