Tennessee football recruiting has been busy of late and SB Nation's Rocky Top Talk has it covered. In the past week, the Volunteers have added quarterback recruit Riley Ferguson, outside linebacker prospect Zach Barnes and JUCO defensive tackle Ben Bradley.
Ferguson is highly rated by ESPN, which labels him as a top-200 prospect. Barnes is rather unheralded at this point, and it is still a bit early for junior college ratings to debut for a player such as Bradley. All three players are at a position of need for the Volunteers, who now have 12 verbal commitments in the class of 2013. RTT has a ridiculous amount of information on these three prospects at the link provided above.
Perhaps the most interesting read at Rocky Top Talk, however, is 'Tennessee Targeting Teammates For 2013', penned in early June by Brad Shepard, one of the best recruiting writers in the SB Nation network. In it, Shepard discusses the concept of package deals, and highlights six potential combinations for the Volunteers to recruit this season.
One such combination is Mackensie and Mackenro Alexander, brothers on the Immokalee (Fla.) High squad. Mackensie committed to Tennessee earlier in the year site unseen, and later backed out.
Here's a snippet:
Next up, the Vols leveraged themselves quite nicely for the services of several top-shelf junior college prospects with the hiring of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to be their new defensive assistant under Sal Sunseri. Staley -- who didn't hurt matters last year in the recruitment of Hutchinson five-star wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson -- is working with outside linebackers, and UT has already secured one of his products at Hutch in speedy defensive end/outside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell. Campbell is another player off the radar a bit because of a redshirt last season, but he is a guy UT sees as a pass-rushing specialist in the mold of former Vols commitment and West Virginia standout Bruce Irvin, who was selected in the first round of the NFL draft this year. If Campbell can be half that good, he'll be a steal.
But Campbell isn't the only Blue Dragon with whom the Vols have positioned themselves well. A pair of monster defensive tackles with big-time offer sheets reside in Kansas, and UT is sitting pretty with them both right now. Toby Johnson has actually mentioned the Vols as his leader before over teams such as Southern Cal, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Nebraska. the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder is perhaps the Vols' top target at the position. But according to an article this week by 247's Ryan Callahan, Johnson's teammate and buddy Ben Bradley -- who has offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, Boise State, Georgia and UT, among others -- is also high on the Vols and intends on checking out Tennessee with Johnson. The 6-3, 310-pounder is also a former high school teammate of Vols wide receiver commitment Jason Croom at Norcross (Ga.) HS. If UT can secure those two guys in the middle, it will be a huge junior college coup.
But Staley hasn't only helped with Patterson, Campbell, Johnson and Bradley, he also coached Arizona Western College safety/cornerback Khambrel Garland at Hutch last year. Garland is visiting UT this week and is said to favor the Vols after receiving an offer from them recently. He also has been offered by Baylor, Arkansas, Indiana and Oklahoma State.