ESPN: 3-star, 78, #56 ILB
247: 3-star, 83, #31 ILB
Scout: 2-star, #116 OLB
Tennessee added the 22nd signee for the 2012 class on Wednesday when Florida linebacker Kenneth Bynum committed and signed with the Vols.
After losing out on both Dalton Santos and Otha Peters just before signing day, the Vols were left with Justin King and LaTroy Lewis as the only linebackers in the class. With plans to implement a 3-4 scheme next season in new defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri’s “multiple” defense, the roster lacked depth at the position and Tennessee looked to Bynum.
Bynum originally committed to Cincinnati in October and planned to sign with the Bearcats until the Vols offered about a week before signing day. Even though it was so late in the process, Bynum couldn’t pass up the opportunity of playing in Knoxville, citing distance from home and academics and two of the determining factors in his decision.
“I was weighing the differences between Cincinnati and Tennessee and I just felt like being closer to home was really the deciding factor between the two, because I love my family and I play a huge role with my family,” Bynum told Sports180.”
The decision was so stressful, it caused him to become physically ill.
“It was really kind of getting to me,” said Bynum. “I actually got sick during national signing day because of all the stress. It is nice. I feel relieved.”
According to Bynum, he has a “thing” for science and will major in chemistry, but realizes he may need some help along the way
“Tennessee does have a lot to offer, especially the Thornton Center. I absolutely love the Thornton Center. Once I get there, I probably won’t come out the Thornton Center.”
By most accounts, Bynum is an athletic player who can cover a lot of ground and is able to change direction quickly. He’s intelligent and is said to be a fast learner.
Bynum said Coach Sunseri wants him to play inside linebacker in Tennessee’s defensive scheme where he can engage with lineman. For that to happen, he will likely need to add some weight to his current 220(ish)-pound frame.
Between now and the summer, Bynum hopes to improve his speed and explosiveness by working with the track team so that he is as prepared as possible when he arrives in Knoxville this summer.
Bynum is very active playing the run and pass; demonstrates the playing speed and strength to make game changing plays. Has the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition; his frame may be able to handle some additional bulk over time. The strong wrap tackling skills we see should prove productive as a special team’s coverage defender. This guy runs well, showing good flexibility, balance and agility when playing space; does a good job with key and diagnosis reaction skills against the run and pass. Plays tough at the point of attack showing the playing strength to take on and defeat blockers when working to the football; can play downhill and scrapes off the edges maintaining good leverage on the ball carrier. Is quick to fill gaps; moves through traffic well and doesn’t overrun the football. We see good long chase speed with correct pursuit angles, playing faster than his timed speed. Is very effect as a short/medium zone coverage defender; can crossover for depth with eyes on the quarterback, getting into throwing lanes; displays good ball skills with two interceptions, one for a “pick six”. His foot quickness and agility suggest the potential to play man coverage. This guy is a tough customer who plays with the intensity and big play ability we like to see when evaluating linebackers. Bynum does not appear to be an immediate impact starter at the BCS level of play however if a red shirt year isn’t deemed necessary it won’t be long before he begins to see valuable playing time.