Success in the passing game under Josh Heupel is naturally going to draw receivers to Tennessee football, and we’re not just talking wide receivers. Tight ends could be in on it too, and now, Heupel has the Vols trending for one in 2024 out of Georgia’s backyards.
Michael Smith, a four-star across the board out of Savannah, Ga., has the Vols in his top eight. Coming out of Chatham County’s Calvary Day High School, Smith stands at 6’4″ and weighs in the range of 220 to 225 pounds.
Joining Tennessee football on Smith’s list are the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes, Florida Gators, South Carolina Gamecocks, Texas Longhorns, Arkansas Razorbacks and Penn State Nittany Lions. He announced the schools Monday evening on Twitter.
No, the Georgia Bulldogs are not on his list, and neither are the Florida State Seminoles or Clemson Tigers. Those are the three elite programs closed to where he is coming from, so all three being eliminated is a huge deal. For good measure, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Auburn Tigers are out too.
That doesn’t mean the Vols won’t have a fight on their hands. Alabama is still in the area, and Florida is making a huge push. Given what Billy Napier has been doing on the recruiting trail and what he can sell, that may end up being UT’s biggest competition.
With Princeton Fant in his graduate senior year and Jacob Warren technically a senior, Smith would arrive at the perfect time. The Vols will need more depth at tight end by 2024, and they will certainly need another receiving tight end, which his frame suggests he provides.
Currently, there are no favorites on the Rivals Future Cast and no 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. However, On3 has Florida as the favorite by a plurality with South Carolina second. Those two make up over 50 percent, and Ohio State is third.
Meanwhile, South Carolina and the Kentucky Wildcats are tied for the favorite on the Rivals Future Cast, but Kentucky didn’t make the cut. Simply put, Tennessee football seems to have an uphill climb to land Smith, but it’s still early.