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Tennessee football mock signing class 2.0 — defense – SECcountry.com

With most of Tennessee’s Class of 2018 already set, there isn’t much room for projections.

Instead, the focus changes to who will the Vols lose in the class, if any. Tennessee has 23 commitments in the class right now. The class ranks No. 6 in the country and best in the SEC, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

But exactly how will Tennessee fill out the rest of its 2018 class? Here is SEC Country’s latest defensive projections:

Defensive line (5)

4-star DT Greg Emerson (Jackson, Tenn.), 4-star DT Brant Lawless (Nashville, Tenn.), 4-star DT D’Andre Litaker (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 3-star DE Dorian Gerald (Valencia, Calif.) and 3-star DT Jamarcus Chatman (Rome, Ga.)

The big news in this group comes from the recent Litaker injury. He tore his ACL last Friday and will miss the remainder of his senior season.

I believe Tennessee will keep his scholarship and he will end up with the Vols despite the injury.

This would arguably be the best defensive line recruiting haul in Tennessee history. Emerson ranks as the second-best player in the state and anchors the group.

Lawless and Litaker come from around the middle of the state, as does Emerson. Snagging all three Tennessee players remains one of the best achievements for coach Butch Jones this class.

Gerald, a junior college player, could help provide depth early on for the Vols.

Chatman, a former LSU commit, gives the group even more of a boost with more numbers. He has the potential to become a contributor down the line, too.

Linebacker (2)

3-star OLB Matthew Flint (Gurley, Ala.),3-star OLB Cam Jones (Cordova, Tenn.)

Flint committed somewhat out of the nowhere, but he still seems to be steadily devoted to the Vols. His speed is what separates him. Flint was clocked with a 4.57-second time in the 40-yard dash at a summer camp.

Tennessee has picked up its recruitment of Jones after cooling on him over the summer. This may hurt the Vols in the long run, but they certainly have a shot.

I think Jones will end up on Rocky Top when it is all said and done.

Secondary (5)

4-star S Brendon Harris (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 4-star S Trey Dean (Hampton, Ga.), 4-star CB Jaycee Horn (Alpharetta, Ga.), 3-star CB Brandon Cross (Orlando, Fla.), 3-star CB Tanner Ingle (Orlando, Fla.)

Last month, I projected Horn would end up a Vol and that came true. He is keeping his recruitment open and taking all of his official visits. Horn visited Clemson last Friday, but the Tigers weren’t a finalist when he made his decision.

Dean’s commitment was a surprise at the time to most, but he hasn’t seemed to waver in a pledge to play for Tennessee. Dean attended the Vols’ home opener against Indiana State last week.

Horn and Dean seem to be the biggest toss-ups in the secondary to hold on to at this point. If Tennessee can, it would almost ensure a top 10 class.

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