Tennessee Vols morning report: Jeremy Pruitt recaps Signing Day 2020

With National Signing Day in the books, Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt recapping the event leads our Volunteers news for Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.

And just like that, the Tennessee Vols have mostly wrapped up their 2020 recruiting class. We say mostly because there is one player, five-star Zachary Evans, who is still on the board and will still have teams fighting for him past National Signing Day since he couldn’t sign an LOI Wednesday.

Anyway, our morning update on Rocky Top leads with the aftermath of the event. UT had one of its best Signing Days in years, and it’s certainly worth the coverage. But that’s not the only development that happened with the football program Wednesday.

Other personnel moves took place too, including making staff reports official and injury updates heading into spring ball. So we have to cover both of those along with a preview of another huge women’s basketball game. Let’s start, though, with the aftermath of National Signing Day.

Jeremy Pruitt discusses 2020 recruiting class – WNML, 99.1 The Sports Animal

On National Signing Day, the Tennessee Vols football program secured a commitment from three-star athlete Dee Beckwith and flipped four-star wide receiver Malachi Wideman from the Florida State Seminoles. Both guys could play basketball as well. This gave them a top 10 class across almost all recruiting services. Here is what Jeremy Pruitt said about the day.

“I think recruiting has a little bit of momentum to it. When you get guys that start committing to a certain school, guys want to be a part of that. Right now, we won six games and seven out of our last eight. That created some momentum on the field and some momentum in December.”

Staff changes made official – Patrick Brown, GoVols247

As Tennessee football was putting the finishing touches on its 2020 recruiting class, the Vols also made their staff changes official. Jeremy Pruitt confirmed that Joe Osovet would be promoted to tight ends coach, Jay Graham would take over as running backs coach and Brian Niedermeyer would move to inside linebackers coach. Special teams coordinator is still up in the air.

Osovet has inked a two-year deal with Tennessee through the end of January 2022. His salary will be $225,000 for the first year of his deal, and it increases to $250,000 starting in February 2021. The details of his buyouts and incentives are the same as Tennessee’s other assistant coaches. Niedermeyer received a one-year contract extension and $150,000 raise last year, so he has another year to run on his current deal that includes a $350,000 salary.

Wanya Morris to miss spring practice – Austin Price, VolQuest.com

After a breakout freshman campaign, Tennessee football offensive lineman Wanya Morris will miss spring practice due to a surgery he had last month. However, he should be back by August.

Morris played in all 13 games for Tennessee this past season, starting in 12 for an improved offensive line this past season. He helped pave the way for a season-high 297 yard rushing performance against Vanderbilt in November.

Kellie Harper previews Mississippi State – UTSports

Coming off a 69-48 loss to the No. 1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks on the road, the No. 23 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols, who are 17-5 and 7-2 in the SEC, will now host the No. 8 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs, who are 20-3 and 8-1 in the SEC, Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET. Here’s a bit of what Kellie Harper said about the matchup.

“They’re disciplined. They’re going to get after you defensively. I think they’re going to be very physical with you and relentless in their approach to guarding.”