With the obvious need for offensive line help in Knoxville, the University of Tennessee staff went to work on just that and they came away with an impressive haul on signing day. While locking down James Stone and Ja’Wuan James to likely be the offensive line bookends for the next few years, the Vols went up into Illinois for a second commitment in the class of 2010. Not only did the staff pull in Matt Milton out of the “Prairie State.” With the two future tackles in place, Homewood-Flossmoor High School star, Zach Fulton seems destined to lock up the interior line for the Vols football team.
Fulton has the size to play anywhere on the line but his game and physical attributes are more fitting for an interior linemen. As of now, it looks as if Fulton will be on the inside shoulder of either James or Stone in the coming years. While Fulton has the size and the competitiveness, he looks to be somewhat of a project as he has numerous parts of the game that he needs to work on, The good news for Fulton is that his brother had the same things said about him coming out of high school before he blew up at the University of Illinois and became an NFL Draft pick in 2009.
Similar to Milton, Fulton committed to the Vols back in the summer. In fact, he committed a month before Milton did and became one of the first commits of this class. Fulton can be an absolute terror in run blocking and has the size and technique to plow through unprepared defenders. Pass-blocking is where Fulton will likely make the most improvement and when he does improve that part of his game, he should become an impact player on the front line for the Vols.
Here is ESPNU and Scouts, Inc and their take on what lies ahead for Zach Fulton…
Fulton possesses the size and arm length to play the guard position but lacks the athletic ability for offensive tackle. Although we like his size along with the knowledge that it will take some time for him to mature both physically and mentally, this player will not be and immediate impact player. Athletic ability issues must be addressed such as initial quickness out of his stance and the tendency to raise up on first movement. Looks to be a little stiff both bending and running in the open field. Although he flashes toughness and aggressiveness as an inline blocker, at times is on the ground too much when attempting to cut off shaded defenders. Hence not able to continue onto 2nd level linebackers. Although flashes in space, must improve his balance and ability to change direction. Not quick out of his stance when pulling and trapping. Must improve his long trap ability, definitely more of a short trap player. May be limited to the guard box area, road grader type of blocker as he develops throughout his career. Will have to improve his quick set ability, along with his punch and extension in pass protection. We feel he may be extended if asked to pop out and handle wide rushers. Flashes aggressiveness, toughness and the willingness to finish blocks. With that being said, and considering the upside of his size, we feel Fulton will still need a red shirt year plus time to develop into a starter at guard. Given the necessary time to develop, this player should eventually become a solid two year starter.
After becoming one of the earlier commitments in this class, Fulton did what he could to help sway other recruits in the direction of UT, including his work on fellow Illinois native, Kyle Prater. As it turns out, the Vols are far from needing any impact wide receivers after the haul they just secured but Fulton put in his work to help his future team. Great team player who should be a good locker room guy from day one on Knoxville.