The Alcoa senior is rated the nation’s No. 7 tight end prospect by Scout.com, but he also has potential as rush end. Tennessee envisioned him a versatile tight end offering options on third down as a receiving threat. That would also add another blocker and put the run back in play. A player of Warren’s ilk would have worked for everything from lead blocker on sweeps to tight end on screens.
Even with the loss of Brandon Warren there’s no shortage of potential tight end prospects in UT’s Class of 2006. The Vols have a commitment from Scouts No. 8 tight end Lee Smith of Knoxville Powell High School, No. 34 tight end, Luke Stocker of Berea, Ky., and appear likely to retain the commitment of No. 24 tight end Michael Goggans of Alexander City, Ala. They also redshirted Jeff Cottam, who was rated the No. 7 tight end in UT’s 2005 class. They also return Chris Brown who has played both H-back and tight end.
How many of those prospects end up at tight end is yet to be determined, but Goggans has the ability to become an excellent pass rusher at defensive end, plus he fits the profile that John Chavis prefers on the open side of the field. Goggans has expressed admiration for Coach Chavis and an interest in playing for him. If he does sign with UT on Wednesday, Goggans might well become a ward of the Chief.
Coming on the heels of Tim Hawthorne’s commitment to Auburn, Warren’s nod to the Noles was, no doubt, a double disappointment for UT faithful. Nevertheless, it’s hardly a disaster, as Tennessee never appeared to be in the lead for either player. The Vols did close a lot of ground and raised hopes in the process. The good news is they did land Ramone Johnson and Nick Stephens six days apart and Victor Thomas and Stephaun Raines in between.
They’re still players for four-star defensive tackle Aleric Mullins and continue to pursue Stone Mountain, Ga., linebackers Kelvin Sheppard and Perry Riley, who are committed to LSU. Sheppard seems the more likely of the pair to switch to UT, but Riley can’t be ruled out. They are being recruited by Trooper Taylor.
Tennessee could sign up to 27 players and currently has 23 commitments.