Sometimes an athlete comes along and you can just kind of tell what type of player he is going to be once his time comes to step on the field. One of those players in this year’s class was one of the later commitments to the University of Tennessee recruiting class of 2010. Originally an Oklahoma University commit, Nimitz, TX athlete, Eddrick Lofton decided to take a late visit to Tennessee once the new staff was in place in Knoxville. After the official visit on the weekend of January 15th, Lofton went home and sat on the decision for a while. Once he had an in-home visit with the new staff, Lofton decided that UT was the place to be and the rest is history.
Lofton seems to be one of those players that you can kind of read early on and he feels like the type of kid that will make an early impact on special teams with his pure aggression and nasty demeanor on the field. Lofton is a big hitter that will make the ball carrier pay for violating his space. Although he is not the ideal size for an SEC safety, Lofton has the game to handle the duties and if he is able to increase his speed and polish up his technique, he has the ability to become a star on the Tennessee defense.
At 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, Lofton comes in as a three star recruit by ESPN, but his abilities reach beyond that level. He has built his reputation as a hitter by being a star in the run game as he can come up in the box with the best of them and make it tough for the ball carrier to even get to the second level. Lofton’s commitment gave the Vols’ defensive class a little boost at the end and getting another player from Texas is never a bad idea either. Lofton comes from a solid program and has the feel of a future special teams’ terror.
While he feels like a special teams standout just waiting to happen, Lofton also has the potential to be a very prolific strong safety and a great defender in the box. Run support is the strength of his game, but Lofton can also make a lot of plays in the passing game as he shows good ball skills and awareness that makes up for his lack of size and fluidity.
Here is ESPNU and Scouts, Inc’s take on the Texas safety prospect…
Loften is a tough and physical defensive back. He is a stout safety that has very good quickness as a defensive back. Uses hands well when taking on blockers. Separates and disengages to get to the ball carrier. Keeps leverage on the football on run support and can string the play out using the sideline to his advantage. A solid hitter that likes to unload on the football carrier and most of the time drives legs after initial contact to finish the play. Drives face mask through the ball carrier or receiver. A sound and reliable tackler as a free safety but body build and aggressiveness makes him a perfect fit at the strong safety position from either two or three deep coverage. Breaks quickly on the deep ball and displays the ability to get high up into the air to make a play on the ball. Undercuts receivers to make plays on the football and possesses the soft hands to bring back the interception back for positive yards. Loften is not the most fluid safety but is one of the most active and plays with great intensity. He loves to hit and is always around the football. He has the chance to be a very productive player at the next level.
With Janzen Jackson roaming around the defensive backfield for the next couple of years, expect Lofton to either redshirt or get involved right away on special teams while working to grow into a full-time starter on the defensive side of the ball.
Getting Lofton away from Oklahoma and into the SEC out of Texas is a big win for Coach Dooley and the ability that Lofton has shown throughout his high school career makes it seem like it could be one of the bigger wins out of this entire recruiting class if he keeps on pace and is able to develop the way the staff thinks he can.