Friday, April 18, 2014 · 6:35 a.m.
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KNOXVILLE – Coach Butch Jones, at least temporarily, has lifted UT to the top of the recruiting world.

Tennessee received a commitment from defensive end Joe Henderson on Thursday afternoon. That pledge vaulted the Vols to the top of the team recruiting rankings. Tennessee, as of Thursday afternoon, ranks first in the nation in recruiting, according to Rivals.com and second, according to 247Sports.

Henderson, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end who chose the Vols over offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Louisville, Wisconsin, Kentucky and others.

“[Henderson has] a great first step and is a mismatch against most tackles and tight ends,” Tim Warsinskey of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote in a scouting report of Henderson in February.

Joe Henderson highlights (via 247SportsStudios)

Henderson becomes the 14th commitment in Tennessee’s 2014 signing class and the first defensive end.

How he fits: The Vols lose a lot of experience at defensive end with the graduation of Jacques Smith, Marlon Walls and Corey Miller after the 2013 season. Jordan Williams and LaTroy Lewis will be the most experienced players at that position when Henderson arrives in 2014.

Tennessee did, however, bring in five defensive ends in the 2013 signing class – Corey Vereen, Jason Carr, Malik Brown, Jaylen Miller and Kendal Vickers. Upgrading the pass rush has been a priority for Jones and his staff and their addition of six new ends in the past two classes thus far shows a commitment to doing just that.

Rankings: 

ESPN.com: 3-star; 26th best DE

Rivals.com: 3-star; 19th best DE

Scout.com: 3-star; 70th best DE

247Sports.com: 4-star; 14th best DE

247Sports.com Composite: 3-star; 20th best DE

Tennessee’s 2014 commitments (247Sports Composite ranking)

ATH Vic Wharton (3-star)

OL Coleman Thomas (3-star)

DB Todd Kelly (4-star)

WR Neiko Creamer (3-star)

RB Jalen Hurd (5-star)

RB Treyvon Paulk (3-star)

CB D'Andre Payne (4-star)

TE Ethan Wolf (4-star)

WR Lawrence Lee (3-star)

TE Daniel Helm (4-star)

(JUCO) WR Kameel Jackson (3-star)

OL Orlando Brown (3-star)

K Aaron Medley (NR)

DE Joe Henderson (3-star)

Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga

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