Tennessee football makes cut for 2021 Alabama DE Demarcus Smith

The Birmingham, Ala. edge rusher has the Tennessee football Volunteers in his top five.

It’s clear that Jeremy Pruitt is trying to get ahead of the curve on rising strongside defensive ends for Tennessee football. That’s an area where he wants to build up some significant depth. Well, he took a step towards doing that with an Alabama prospect on Wednesday.

Rocky Top made the top five for 2021 edge rusher Demarcus Smith, a three-star on Rivals. At 6’4″ 250 pounds, Smith comes out of Parker High School in Birmingham, Ala., and he has not yet been rated on 247Sports.

In addition to Tennessee football, Smith had the the Ole Miss Rebels, Mississippi State Bulldogs, South Carolina Gamecocks and Kansas Jayhawks on his list. He announced the schools on Twitter Wednesday evening.

Edge rushers from Alabama are certainly not unfamiliar territory for the Vols. Their red-hot recruiting streak from the end of April to the second half of May started with the commitment of four-star weakside defensive end Dylan Brooks out of Roanoke, Ala. Meanwhile, three-star strongside defensive end Trinity Bell, who could also play tight end, comes from Albertville, Ala.

Smith does not bring with him the hype that Brooks does, but there is clearly something that Pruitt and the coaching staff see in him. All signs point to him being a very under-the-radar prospect, and he’d be a great addition to UT’s top five class.

Currently, in addition to Brooks and Bell, three-star Darrell Jackson of Havana, Fla. makes three commitments at defensive end. Bell and Jackson are two strongside defensive ends, though, after the Vols added two players at that position in their 2020 class despite not losing anybody in in-state four-star Tyler Baron and three-star Reginald Perry. By the way, Perry is from Fairfield, Ala.

Simply put, Pruitt has made sure to significantly upgrade there, and it’s for a good reason. There are three senior strongside defensive ends, or ends who always play up on the line in Pruitt’s system whether he’s in the 3-4 or nickel. Those players are Matthew Butler, Ja’Quain Blakely and LaTrell Bumphus. A fourth, John Mincey, is a junior.

As a result, Tennessee football is about to lose a lot of talent there and need immediate help. There are no favorites for Smith on the Rivals Future Cast or 247Sports Crystal Ball, but the Vols are a majority favorite in the unscientific Rivals Fan Future Cast. They are definitely in play, and don’t be surprised if Rocky Top is where he ends up.