KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee football program and head coach Jeremy Pruitt announced the newest members of the Vol football family on Wednesday during Day 1 of the Early Signing Period (Dec. 20-22).
Tennessee officially signed 11 players with two days remaining in college football’s new December signing window. UT could still sign more players before the end of the day Friday, and will add several Vols during the traditional National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
The Big Orange early signing class as of Wednesday night features seven members from the state of Tennessee, two Californians, one player from Florida and one South Carolina native.
Six of the newest Vols have been selected for postseason high school all-star games, including U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant Greg Emerson, a defensive end, and Under Armour All-America Game selection Paxton Brooks, the nation’s No. 2 punter.
“We are very excited to welcome this group of outstanding young men who signed with us today,” Pruitt said. “They are terrific football players, who also display exceptional character off the field. We appreciate the commitment they have made to the University of Tennessee. They will be the foundation for our first signing class here. We said we were going to build a fence around the state and this is a good start. We also know that Tennessee is a national brand, and it’s exciting that some of these players from across the country will be wearing the ‘T’ on their helmets. We hope to have a few more guys sign these next two days, too.
“We know we still have a lot of work to do on the recruiting trail, as we will sign several more players in February, but today is a great way to begin. We will get back to work when I return n January. I want to thank Vol Nation for all of the support these first two weeks on the job. I am honored and humbled to be your head coach, and I’m looking forward to devoting all of my time to our football team following the College Football Playoff.”
The Vols have already signed four the state’s Top 10 recruits, according to Rivals: Emerson (No. 3), Cordova High School teammates Jerome Carvin (No. 8) and Jeremy Banks (No. 9), and 2017 Tennessee Titans District II-A Mr. Football Brant Lawless (No. 10).
The class also features a pair of Knoxville area stars in Gibbs offensive lineman Ollie Lane and Farragut tight end Jacob Warren.
California quarterback JT Shrout rocketed up recruiting boards this season and is ranked the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the nation, according to Rivals, while Dominick Wood-Anderson is the No. 1-rated junior college tight end prospect in the country.
Additionally, the Vols signed one of the Nashville area’s top recruits in offensive lineman Tanner Antonutti and national prep powerhouse IMG Academy defensive lineman Kingston Harris.
After being named head coach on Dec. 7, Pruitt had just 10 days to put together a signing class before the dead period began on Dec. 18, limiting contact with recruits. Pruitt, who was named 247Sports Recruiter of the Year in 2012, and members of his coaching staff worked tirelessly to secure the Early Signing Period class.
Remaining signees will be announced on Tennessee football’s official twitter handle, @Vol_Football when their NLI’s are verified. A press release summarizing the complete Early Signing Period class will be sent out at the completion of the weekend.