The Tennessee Volunteers continue to roll on strong on the recruiting trail in 2013, and currently stand third in the nation in the 247Composite recruiting rankings. The Vols are behind only Alabama and Ohio State, and rank ahead of both Georgia and Florida in the SEC.
Tennessee has only added one commit over the past month, but it was a huge one in the form of DaVonte Lambert. The defensive end from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville (Ga.) is a consensus four-star recruit and is rated as one of the top ten players in the country -- and the top overall player from the state of Georgia in the 2014 recruiting cycle. At 6'3, 275 pounds, he certainly looks the part.
The unquestioned top talent in Tennessee's recruiting class is consensus five-star running back Jalen Hurd. The Hendersonville (Tenn.) Beech star is rated as one of the best running backs in the nation and the top overall prospect in the state, but it's not all great news for the 6'3, 220-pound Hurd. He tore his labrum back in August and will miss his senior season at Hendersonville, but he should be good to go for next season in Knoxville.
The Vols have another highly-rated in-state commit in 6'1, 200-pound safety Todd Kelly. The Knoxville (Tenn.) Webb School product is a consensus four-star recruit, is rated as the sixth-best safety in the nation and the third-best overall prospect in the state of Tennessee. He's not their only four-star safety though, as Locust Grove (Ga.) product Cortez McDowell is also a Vols commit. At 6'1, 205, he and Kelly give Tennessee two of the top 15 safeties in the 2014 recruiting class.
D'Andre Payne is another four-star defensive back commit for the Volunteers. The 5'9, 172-pound Washington (D.C.) Woodson star may be small in stature, but his skills have caused him to be rated among the top 20 cornerbacks in the entire nation. Rounding out a bumper crop of defensive talent is Ponte Vedra Beach (Fla.) linebacker Dillon Bates. Standing 6'3, 220 pounds, Bates is a consensus four-star recruit and listed among the top 10 outside linebackers in the country.
SB Nation recruiting analyst Bud Elliott:
The Volunteers are in excellent shape to add a number of four-star recruits.
Receiver Josh Malone, of Gallitin (Tenn.) Station Camp High School, is a large four-star receiver who would play right away for Tennessee. Defensive end Dewayne Hendrix, of O'Fallon (Il.) High School, is an intense battle between Tennessee, Florida and USC, but it Tennessee is in a good spot. Hendrix is a conesnsus four-star.
But the Volunteers, who will look to take a huge class, won't just stop there.
Tennessee is still after Evan and Elliott Berry, twin linebacker/defensive backs, and the brothers of Tennessee great Eric Berry. The Volunteers are still very much in it with defensive end Derek Barnett, of Brentwood (TN) Academy. Barnett is a consensus four-star with excellent size at 6'4 and 265 pounds.
Oh, and the Volunteers are trying to keep massive defensive tackle Charles Mosley (6'5, 335) away from Alabama, and Tennessee insiders are confident in their ability to do so.