KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Butch Jones and Tennessee have taken the country by surprise this summer, piling up top-level talent one after the other.
The Vols received verbal commits from two standout defensive ends in junior college standout Dorian Gerald and Jackson North Side’s Greg Emerson.
Gerald could make an immediate impact for Tennessee, who lost it’s top two pass rushers in Derek Barnett and Corey Vereen. The 4-star defensive end finished with 12 sacks and 24 tackles for loss as a freshman for College of the Canyons in santa Clarita, California.
Emerson’s commitment, which could have gone smoother, gave the Vols six of the top nine players verbally locked in by the beginning of July.
“I said I was gonna do it in December, but I guess I can go ahead and let everyone know,” Emerson said during a live broadcast on NFL Network. “For the next four years, I’ll be attending, furthering my education at the University of Knoxville, go Big Orange!”
Standing at 6-4, 260 pounds, I’m not going to be the one to tell Emerson he got the name of the University wrong. The defensive lineman, who likely had a few jitters on national television, wants to be a Volunteer. At this point, that’s all that should matter for Big Orange fans.
“I guess it was sitting heavy on my heart where I wanted to go, and I’m glad to put it out there now,” Emerson said.
Emerson’s name on Tennessee’s recruiting list could very well give Butch Jones his third top five class in five cycles.
“What’s your message to Tennessee fans watching this?”
“Hah, be ready.”
Before Emerson is ready for game day, he’ll need to put an injury behind him. The lineman suffered a leg injury at nike’s elite camp known as the opening less than 30 hours prior to committing to tennessee.
“I’m just gonna be ready to get out of the boot and get into the therapy room and get this ankle back right so I can get on the field and perform.”
Inside tennessee already lists him as the best defensive end in the state and eighth in the nation. Emerson is doing what is needed to keep it that way.
He’s a young man that has a lot of competitive spirit. After weighing in at 296 pounds on March 26 at The Opening in Atlanta, he dropped over 30 pounds. He’s now under 260 pounds in an attempt to stay out wide at defensive end where’s he’s going to help Tennessee both as a pass rusher and in run stopping.
Don’t be surprised if you see emerson give his imitation of the stone cold stunner.
“Actually, Coach Wells called me and asked who was my favorite wrestler back in the day, and I told him Stone Cold, and he told me he was gonna put up a picture of him throwing two beers together.”
As college football continues to be more about how many points you can score, defense still wins championships, especially in the sec. Emerson will join d’andre litaker, jamarcus chatman and brant lawless in the 2018 class. The four defensive lineman combined to turn down over 80 other scholarship offers for a chance to team up on rocky top.
“Them two being them two big boys as they are, playing inside, and knowing that they’re gonna have me outside to contain, that’s a scary sight. I’m excited to go head to head with these other big teams and compete knowing that they have my back.”