Josh Heupel’s contribution to the 2021 Tennessee football recruiting class was minimal, as it was mostly filled out by Jeremy Pruitt. However, where he did sign talent, it has been at offensive line. He added junior college lineman Jeremiah Crawford on National Signing Day. Now, the Vols have added an in-state walk-on.
Nicholas Edwards, a 6’6″ 300-pound offensive lineman out of Clarksville High School in Clarksville, Tenn., committed to UT’s 2021 class as a walk-on Thursday afternoon. Edwards does not have any rating on any major recruiting service.
According to Ryan Callahan of GoVols247, Edwards was initially planning to walk-on to the FCS North Alabama Lions program but then spoke with Heupel about potentially joining Rocky Top. He announced his commitment to Tennessee football on Twitter.
After Continuing conversation with @Charlie_High_ and @Gelarbee I have decided I will be continuing my athletic and academic Career at The University of Tennessee 🏔🏔!!! #GBO @ClarksvilleFB pic.twitter.com/y3ZTwNGbzm
— Nicholas Edwards (@NickEdwards1002) April 8, 2021
Obviously, as a walk-on, expectations for Edwards at UT aren’t very high. However, he already has solid size to play lineman, and the Vols definitely need some depth there after losing Wanya Morris, Jahmir Johnson, Trey Smith and Brandon Kennedy from this past year’s team.
With four other seniors on this year’s roster, Heupel has a lot of work to do to make sure the line has the proper amount of depth for the future. Maybe Edwards could be a guy who helps add to that depth and becomes a contributor.
Tackle is where Edwards has his primary experience, and he has played right and left tackle at different times, according to Callahan. However, he is reportedly expected to play on the inside at the college level. Here is a look at his highlight reel.
As you can see, Edwards understands leverage and positioning well, which allows him to be a good run blocker. His quickness is obviously a question, particularly for somebody joining an SEC program, but there are some positives.
Callahan reports that Edwards played last year with a knee injury he suffered early in the season. He had surgery at the end of the year but hopes to be back when Tennessee football begins fall camp in August.