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Tennessee football recruiting rolling in 2014

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Butch Jones is keeping the Volunteers popular in the minds of recruits

Joe Robbins

It didn't take long for Butch Jones to go to work on his first full recruiting class as head football coach of the University of Tennessee. The Volunteers already have seven verbal commitments, including two from three national prospects. The Volunteers are trying to keep Tennessee talent in-state, and target top recruits from throughout the Southeast as well. 2014 should be a huge class for Tennessee both in number and importance.

Commitments since last update: D'Andre Payne, Treyvon Paulk. Decommitments: none

Current Verbal Commitments

Jalen Hurd, Hendersonville (TN) Beech High School: Hurd is arguably the most important recruit in Tennessee's class. A massive 6'3, 225-pound running back, Hurd has the potential to be a beast in Butch Jones' run-first spread. Keeping in-state prospects in Tennessee is crucial for the Volunteers, as the state doesn't produce all that much elite talent in the first place. Hurd is a consensus five-star recruit and someone around whom Tennessee can build its offense.

Todd Kelly, Webb School of Knoxville (TN) High School: It's always nice when an elite recruit pops up in the shadow of a school's stadium who happens to be a legacy, and that's exactly what the Volunteers have in Kelly, a 6'1, 190-pound safety prospect. Kelly is a consensus four-star recruit and top-10 safety nationally. He holds multiple offers from the SEC and other elite schools around the country.

D'Andre Payne, Washington (D.C) Friendship Academy: Payne is one of 20 best cornerback recruits in the country, and is a consensus four-star recruit. While only 5'9 and 170 pounds, he consistently makes plays and has good instincts, quickness and toughness. Payne chose Tennessee over many SEC and ACC offers.

Treyvon Paulk, Alpharetta (GA) Milton High School: Paulk is a three-star running back who profiles as a solid contributor to the Volunteers. And "solid" also describes his physical profile. Paul is 5'9 and 200 pounds, and doesn't give defenders much to tackle. He is considered a '9 200 top 40 3-star

Neiko Creamer, Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian High School: In Butch Jones' run-first spread, receivers are required to block. And Creamer should be a big advantage not only as a size mismatch (6'4, 220) against smaller defensive backs in the passing game, but also in the run game on the edge. Some think Creamer can stay at receiver, while others think he will grow into a tight end. Either, way, the consensus three-star is a nice grab for the Volunteers.

Coleman Thomas, Max Meadows (VA) Fort Chiswell High School: Tennessee needs to rebuild its depth on the offensive line, and Thomas is a nice prospect at 6'6 and 298 pounds. He is a consensus three-star recruit, and despite his height, profiles as an interior player and not a tackle.

Vic Wharton, Thompson's Station (TN) Independence High School: A 6'0, 177-pound athlete who is capable of playing cornerback or slot receiver, Wharton is rated a consensus three-star.

For more on Tennessee Volunteers recruiting, visit Rocky Top Talk.