KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — When defensive end Derek Barnett verbally committed to Tennessee on Wednesday he became the Vols’ second high-profile recruit to be added to the Class of 2014 this week.
The commitment also marked an impressive milestone in the still-growing class. Thirteen players — half of the 26 current verbal commitments — are listed at four stars or higher on the 247Sports Composite rankings, which reflect the industry consensus.
The 26-man class has plenty of geographic diversity, but less Florida flavor than years past. That contributes to the geographic midpoint of the class — now in Ten Mile, Tenn. — being farther north than usual for the Vols (see map above).
The Vols have plenty of flexibility in how they decide to fill out the remainder of the class.
My disclaimer on the “needs” list above: Barnett could conceivably gain weight and become a tackle, so the chart below is still flexible. A linebacker could add weight and become a defensive end. Some of the commitments can play receiver or defensive back. Others, like Neiko Creamer, have even more options. Also, the “goal” at each position is fairly arbitrary and shouldn’t be seen as the official UT recruiting strategy.