KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — While Tennessee coach Butch Jones will target plenty of high-profile prospects over the 12 days between now and National Signing Day, two of the most important signatures he wants are from players who have been committed all along.
Defensive lineman Jason Carr of Memphis and offensive lineman Dan Skipper of Colorado have long been called “soft commitments,” meaning they are technically committed to Tennessee but have opted to look around.
After flirting with Alabama, Carr has reaffirmed his commitment to UT, moving him into the “hard commitment” category, according to most observers. There had been some talk that he might even visit Knoxville this week to help recruit others.
Skipper, who Jones visited this week, is still a mystery.
Why are the two players so important? Using the 247 Composite rating, Carr is the highest-rated commitment in Tennessee’s 17-man class. Skipper is in the upper half. Losing either player would be a blow to a class that needs all the bodies it can get.
Skipper is a 6-foot-9 (sometimes listed as 6-10), 290-pound offensive tackle. He’s a consensus three-star prospect, although he moved up recently in the Rivals rankings and his recruitment has attracted late momentum, including an offer from Oklahoma.
Skipper, who committed to Tennessee last June, has taken visits to Michigan, Arkansas, Ohio State in the last six weeks. He’s due at Ole Miss this weekend. His only visit to Knoxville was for the Akron game.
Unlike most prospects, Skipper doesn’t have a public Twitter profile. His mother told the Ole Miss 247 site that he would announce his decision as soon as he felt ready instead of waiting until National Signing Day. This is the most comprehensive interview with Skipper that I could find. Dave Biddle, of the 247 Ohio State site, said he believes Skipper will pick either the Buckeyes or Arkansas.
Why Arkansas? A big reason is because former Tennessee assistants Jim Chaney and Sam Pittman now work there.
So what are the odds for the two Tennessee soft commits? We’re going to move up Carr to 95 percent. We’ll put Skipper at 40 percent.
Odds UT gets both: 38 percent.
Odds UT gets neither: 3 percent.
Odds they get at least one: 59 percent.
We’ll try to guess the percentages of the other prospects on Tennessee’s board in another blog post as we move closer to Signing Day.
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