Tennessee picked up its 18th commitment for the class of 2013 on Saturday when Inglewood, Califiornia defensive end/tight end Chauntez Jackson committed to the Vols.
Jackson is a consensus 3-star prospect who is mostly listed as a defensive end, but the chance to play on the other side of the ball may have been a decisive factor in his decision. According to Greg Biggins, Tennessee was the one school recruiting him to play tight end, and that’s where Jackson wants to play, according to his coach.
“He picked up tight end fast and he’s very comfortable there,” Coach Ali told Biggins. “After watching him play the last few years, he really looks a lot better at tight end. It’s just more of a natural position for him and he really likes it.”
Tight end is a clear (no pun intended) position of need for the Vols. Sophomore Cameron Clear was dismissed from the team in May as the result of a theft charge and Mychal Rivera graduates this year. Brendon Downs, also a sophomore, suffered a dislocated patella (knee) in August. He’s played in three games this season, tallying just one catch: a 6-yard touchdown against Akron. True freshman Justin Meredith has been limited with a hamstring injury and will likely miss the 2012 season.
Tennessee special teams and tight ends coach Charlie Coiner visited with Jackson during the open date last week and obvioulsy made an impression on the talented prospect, who has yet to visit Knoxville.
ESPN’s evaluation (as a defensive end):
Jackson is a defensive end prospect with nice size at this stage. He possesses good height and looks to carry a good amount of bulk on his frame with room for added size with further physical development. He flashes a good initial burst, but can be inconsistent with his get-off. While he is a fairly good sized kid he is at his best when he can quickly get off the ball and shoot a gap and try and create some quick penetration. Flashes the ability to attack half-a-man, stay low and rip to get up-field and be disruptive.