KNOXVILLE – Desperately thin in the secondary, Tennessee went a little off the beaten path to find some help at cornerback for the 2014 class and landed a commitment from two-star prospect Emmanuel Moseley late Tuesday night, who pledged to the Vols via Twitter.
Butch Jones has garnered a reputation for landing four-star and above recruits who are coveted by multiple major programs. Moseley doesn’t fit that mold at this point. The 6-0, 160-pound corner was committed to Charlotte – an upstart FCS program that just played its first game in school history two weeks ago.
His other offers were from North Carolina A&T and East Carolina, though he admitted in a report that he wanted to commit to ECU, but the Pirates didn’t have a spot for him at the time he tried to make his pledge.
He had no hesitation snatching up UT’s offer.
"Tennessee, they've been here for two months, and [Tuesday] they told me they wanted to offer," Moseley told the Greensboro News and Record. "I couldn't pass up the SEC."
But why would Jones take Moseley, a Greensboro, N.C., native, at this point when no other major FBS programs had offered?
First, it should be pointed out that coaches, though likely aware of national recruiting rankings, work off their own evaluations, not those of Rivals.com, 247Sports or any other media-based companies. And it appears Jones likes Moseley’s size and speed.
He ran a 4.35 40-yard dash, according to 247Sports, and he provides enough height at 6-0 to match up well with some of the taller receivers in the SEC, though he’ll need to bulk up his 160-pound frame.
Secondly, UT’s lack of depth in the secondary likely played a role in the decision. Currently the Vols only have three healthy scholarship outside cornerbacks who have shown signs of being able to contribute – Justin Coleman, Cameron Sutton and Malik Foreman. Behind them, it’s mostly walk-ons contributing.
While Jones certainly has shown the ability to recruit against anybody, he's also showing that he's willing to trust his own evaluations, even when other schools or recruiting services might not agree with them.
How he fits: The lack of depth at cornerback means Moseley, regardless of his ranking, could be called upon to help immediately. Assuming junior Riyahd Jones makes a healthy return by next season, that gives the Vols four decent scholarship options to play at the outside cornerback spots.
The only other true cornerback commitment for 2014 at this point is four-star prospect D’Andre Payne. Jones and defensive coordinator John Jancek have regularly discussed the lack of depth in the secondary thus far this season. Moseley is likely being brought in to help fix that.
Tennessee’s 2014 commitments (247Sports Composite ranking):
CB Emmanuel Moseley (2-star)
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga
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