K_Seals

Vanderbilt finished with its second-best recruiting class and Tennessee flipped a four-star running back from SEC rival Auburn to end an eventful 2022 early signing day.

In his first recruiting cycle as Commodores’ coach, Clark Lea went into his own back yard and landed two of the state’s best at their respective positions: CPA linebacker Langston Patterson and Montgomery Bell Academy offensive lineman Grayson Morgan. 

“This needs to be a place where Nashville's best come to play,” Lea said. “It's so important to find players like this in your backyard and make it hard for them to go anywhere else.”

Quarterback A.J. Swann and edge rusher Darren Agu are no doubt two of the prizes of this class. Swann gives Clark Lea a solid and promising signal caller to build around once the Ken Seals/Mike Wright era is over.

Agu not only fills Vanderbilt’s largest area of need, he also has the potential to be a disruptive force coming off the edge almost immediately and his size (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) and athleticism should be an instant boost to a lethargic Vandy pass rush that mustered just nine sacks this season. 

Holding off Tennessee to keep Agu is also a nice feather in Lea’s cap as well. Vanderbilt also did well to convince athlete B.J. Diakite to rejoin the ‘Dores after he decommitted on Nov. 2.

The Vols landing four-star RB Justin Williams over Auburn has to count as one of the biggest wins of the day for first-year coach Josh Heupel. Originally a West Virginia pledge, Williams de-committed in November. He’s the No. 24 tailback in the 2022 class according to 247Sports composite rankings. UT held off Auburn, Arkansas, Louisville, Ole Miss, Michigan and USC.

It was a relatively quiet early signing day for the Blue Raiders, who locked in potential future starting QB Kyle Lowe and fellow three-star athlete Devin Riles. MTSU also bolstered its offensive line with four signees, highlighted by two-star local product Ethan Ellis from Oakland.

Scotty Walden picked up two three stars and a two star in his first official recruiting class with Austin Peay. Three-star tailback Xavier Preston should help boost a Govs' backfield that had no 1,000-yard rusher in 2021.

Listed below are full recruiting classes for all Middle Tennessee schools plus the University of Tennessee:

Vanderbilt (national ranking: 31; SEC ranking: 13)

Signed:

A.J. Swann, QB, three star

Darren Agu, Edge, three star

Langston Patterson, LB, three star

Jadais Richard, S, three star

Quantaves Gaskins, CB, three star

Bradley Mann, DL, three star

Maurice Edwards, RB, three star

Jayden McGowan, WR, three star

Grayson Morgan, OT, three star

Cole Spence, TE, three star

Trudell Berry, ATH, three star

B.J. Diakite, ATH, three star

Drew Dickey, QB, three star

Chase Gillespie, RB, three star

Daveon Walker, WR, three star

Steven Sanniieniola, S, three star

Linus Zunk, DL, three star

Bryce Cowan, LB, three star

Savion Riley, ATH, three star

Levi Harber, OT, three star

David Siegel, OT, three star

Hard commits:

Yilanan Outtara, DL, three star

K.D. Hutchinson, ATH, three star

Jeffrey Ugo, S, three star

Tennessee (national ranking: 16; SEC ranking: 7)

Signed:

Tyre West, DL, four star

Addison Nichols, OL, four star

Tayven Jackson, QB, four star

Justin Williams, RB, four star

Joshua Josephs, Edge, four star

Kaleb Webb, WR, four star

Cameron Miller, WR, three star

Dylan Sampson, RB, three star

Desmond Williams, CB, three star

Marquarius White, WR, three star

Chas Nimrod, WR, three star

Elijah Herring, LB, three star

Maurice Clipper Jr., OL, three star

Kalib Perry, LB, three star

Masai Reddick, OT, three star

Jourdan Thomas, S, three star

Brian Grant, OT, three star

Christian Harrison, CB, three star

Enrolled:

Jordan Phillips, DL, three star

MTSU (national ranking: 116; C-USA ranking: 8)

Signed:

Kyle Lowe, QB, three star

Devin Riles, ATH, three star

Ethan Ellis, OL, two star

Mateo Guevara, OL, N/R

Seth Falley, OL, N/R

Keylan Rutledge, OT, N/R

Hard commits:

Jaylen Ward, WR, three star

Brandon Connard, RB, three star

Austin Peay

Signed:

Xavier Preston, RB, three star 

Ken’Terious Owens, DL, three star 

Conner Parsons, OL, two star 

Skyler Locklear, QB, N/R

Isaiah Wright, OL, N/R

KT Owens, DE, N/R

Ian Poe, OL, N/R

Jaden Lyles, DB, N/R

Tra Stover, DB, N/R

Ja’Shon Baker, DB, N/R

Kenny Odom, WR, N/R

Mike Evans, DB, N/R

Jahlani Biddersingh, WR, N/R

Hard commits:

Samuel Horton, DL, N/R

Jeremiah Flemmons, ATH, N/R

Tennessee State

Signed:

Dion Villiers, ATH, two star

Logan McGraw, LB, N/R

Dylan King, S, N/R

Abe Alabi, OL, N/R

Jahee Blake, WR, N/R

John Roberts, WR, N/R

James Thorpe, RB, N/R

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_