Given Josh Heupel’s connections to Big 12 country thanks to his time with the Oklahoma Sooners, and given the needs Tennessee football has at offensive line, the Vols should find themselves in play for offensive linemen from Texas. Over the weekend, that’s exactly what happened.
UT made Houston offensive lineman Timi Gagophien’s top four. A three-star on 247Sports and ESPN who is not yet rated on Rivals, Gagophien is listed specifically as an offensive tackle and stands between 6’6″ and 6’7″ while weighing in the range of 270 to 290 pounds.
Joining Tennessee football on Gagophien’s list are the Houston Cougars, Ole Miss Rebels and Arkansas State Red Wolves. Coming out of Harry County’s Hastings High School, he announced his list with a video on Twitter over the weekend.
Obviously, it’s a bit intriguing that Rocky Top is in competition to land Gagophien with his hometown school and then two schools coached by former Vols head coaches. Butch Jones is now at Arkansas State, and Lane Kiffin is now at Ole Miss.
As for the needs facing the Vols, offensive tackle is a critical one. Losing Wanya Morris as a transfer to the Oklahoma Sooners devastated their future at that position, and while they added four linemen in the 2021 class, they need more to rebuild the depth.
Currently, UT only has one offensive lineman committed in its 2022 class, Brian Grant. As a result, adding Gagophien would be a huge boost. Heupel is slowly building up depth there and giving himself options for a solid rotation for the future, and Gagophien could help with that.
There are no official predictions for Gagophien on the Rivals Future Cast or the 247Sports Crystal Ball. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are the unanimous favorite on the Rivals Fan Future Cast, but they didn’t make the cut. As a result, Tennessee football is definitely in play for this guy, and given the fact that Ole Miss offered him, he definitely has value in the SEC.