After losing two defensive linemen to the transfer portal in less than a week, Tennessee football is already in the process of adding more depth there for the future. Josh Heupel did that by securing a commitment from the part of Florida he just spent the past three years coaching in.
Orlando, Fla. defensive tackle Jordan Phillips committed to the Vols Thursday evening. A three-star on Rivals and 247Sports out of Orange County’s Ocoee High School, Phillips stands in the range of 6’2″ to 6’4″ and weighs in the range of 295 to 300 pounds.
Rocky Top now has seven commitments for 2021, three of whom are from the state of Florida and two of whom play defensive line, the other being defensive end Venson Sneed. Phillips revealed his commitment to Tennessee football with a video on Twitter.
Phillips’ commitment clearly comes at an opportune time for the Vols. They lost Greg Emerson to the transfer portal on Sunday and Darel Middleton to the transfer portal on Thursday. Also, both defensive line commitments in their 2021 class, Isaac Washington and KaTron Evans, are gone. Washington entered the portal, and Evans was released from his letter of intent.
Those departures left Heupel desperately trying to fill immediate voids. USC Trojans transfer Caleb Tremblay helped, but he is also a senior this year along with lots of other guys on the line. Kansas Jayhawks transfer Da’Jon Terry also helped and even more so for the future.
Adding Phillips allows the Vols to come close to offsetting all the departures. He already has the proper size to play defensive tackle as well, meaning he could be an early impact player next year with so many departures. Here’s a look at his highlight reel.
As you can see, Phillips is already pretty skilled at filling the gaps. His strength appears to be stopping the run, and although he could put on a bit more quickness, he’s definitely a guy who could provide tons of value to UT’s defensive front.
You have to think Heupel’s connection to that part of the country after three years as head coach of the UCF Knights had to help land Phillips. Tennessee football is clearly building an even bigger pipeline into Florida than it had even with the previous staff, and that’s a big deal. This is just the latest example of it.