Randall Godfrey stared at Georgia in the 90s and was later an All-Pro with the Tennessee Titans after being draftd by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round. But now, it’s his son Grant’s turn in the spotlight.
Grant Godfrey is a 2023 outside linebacker from Suwannee, Ga. where he attends North Gwinnett High School. Thanks to the COVID shutdown, the rising junior is just now beginning to jump on program’s radar.
“Tennessee offered me about a month ago,” Godfrey told Volquest. “I’m a versatile defensive player who can line up outside or on the edge. Sometimes I play inside the box. Tennessee likes the way I run sideline to sideline and how physical I play the game.”
Originally, Godfrey planned to take part in one of Tennessee’s prospect camps a few weeks ago but was unable to due to a 7-on-7 conflict. Still, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound athlete made the effort to come up last Friday for an unofficial check-in.
“It’s a beautiful campus,” Godfrey said of Tennessee. “I was able to tour the campus and try on some uniforms. I saw the stadium and loved the design and how loud it can get in there. I also spent a lot of time with the coaches and really like the staff.”
Part of the visit involved the 2023 prospect sitting down to watch film with Tennessee linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary.
“I was able to hang out with coach BJ a lot and really had a good time looking over their defense,” the Peach State native said. “He told me he loves how I see the game because only a few people can see it like I do.
Tennessee was the best visit this summer for the 2023 four-star linebacker from Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett, and Godrey has two visits coming up this fall. He plans to see Georgia and Ole Miss for games in the coming months.
"Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett 4-Star Grant Godfrey is the crown jewel of this class. He's got the speed Wake has been lacking at the position, his body doesn't need too much work, and is already ahead of the curve for his age in coverage. A little background on Godfrey: his father played at UGA and in the NFL for over a decade. while his brother just signed this fall to play basketball at Clemson. Safe to say if he lands those two offers it shakes up his recruitment. Godfrey doesn't do many interviews and frankly has been hard to get a read on, but the two schools that come up with him consistently are Tennessee and Wake."
Grant Godfrey didn’t visit Tennessee’s campus for almost a year before finally returning to Knoxville on Thursday to participate in the Vols’ 7-on-7 camp with some of his teammates. But the lengthy gap between his trips to Tennessee shouldn’t be mistaken as a sign that he’s any less interested in the Vols than he was last summer.
The four-star Class of 2023 linebacker from North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga., said Thursday that Tennessee is one of three schools standing out to him, along with Kentucky and Wake Forest, before clarifying that the Vols are “leading right now.” After participating in Thursday’s camp, he said he’s planning to stay in Knoxville on Friday to visit the Vols, who recently have stayed in frequent contact with him.
“They’re actually in my top three right now,” Godfrey said during Thursday’s camp. “They actually talk to me the most out of probably any school besides Wake Forest right now. … I think Tennessee’s leading right now. Tennessee’s leading right now.”
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Godfrey, who’s the son of former NFL linebacker and Georgia standout Randall Godfrey, said his contact with the Vols “never fell off” after they extended an offer to him a little more than a year ago and hosted him for the first time just 11 days later, on June 18. The younger Godfrey said he simply “couldn’t find time to make it back” to Tennessee last season or earlier this year.
But he said he’s still high on the Vols because of the way Tennessee coach Josh Heupel’s staff has recruited him, led by linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, along with “the chance to play in the SEC.” Godfrey said he also likes what he has seen during his two trips to Knoxville.
“I just love their campus,” said Godfrey, who’s ranked by 247Sports as the No. 19 linebacker in the 2023 class. “The coaches are great people. Coach Heup, he texts me almost every week, too.
“I have a lot of friends that actually came up here — Christian Harrison, Amari McNeill. Warren Burrell, he’s from, actually, the school. They just hit me up and tell me, ‘This is a great place, and it’s just a home.’ It just feels like everybody’s up here, so might as well come check it out. I like it, too.”
Jean-Mary and Tennessee defensive analyst Chad Creamer have been talking with Godfrey “almost every day,” he said, making it clear to him that he’s important to the Vols.
“They want me here,” Godfrey said. “They’re very invested, and they want me here — that’s what they’re saying.
“Coach BJ says he loves the way I play, loves the way I see the ball and my instincts, for sure, are one of the top things that stand me out from many linebackers.”
Among the current Tennessee players Godfrey knows, he said he’s closest with “probably Christian Harrison,” the freshman cornerback who recently joined the Vols for the start of first-session summer classes. Godfrey said Harrison is “super excited about this season” and has told him that Tennessee’s coaches are “just cool, nice people, down-to-earth.”
“People in Knoxville are kind to the football players, also,” Godfrey added, recalling what Harrison has told him about the Vols. “It’s just, like, a positive environment.”
Godfrey said he’s planning to travel to Kentucky on Saturday after spending more time at Tennessee on Friday, and he’s scheduled to visit Wake Forest on June 18. He will be visiting the Wildcats this weekend for the first time.
“Kentucky, the coaches, they actually came to the school,” he said. “I actually met them for the first time during spring practice. They told me I can play anywhere. They just spelled out to me how much they would need me on their team, because I can play all four of the linebacker positions. I’m going to go up there, check it out, see what’s going on.
“And then at Wake Forest, (linebackers) coach (Glenn) Spencer, he’s a great coach. He’s been coaching for, like, 30 years, so he has all the knowledge. And he’s invested so much into me. I’m the first on his board and everything. He wants me there.”
Godfrey said he’s set to visit Georgia on June 21 for a 7-on-7 team camp. The Bulldogs currently aren’t among the nearly 30 teams that have extended offers to him, but he said they’re still showing interest in him.
“(Georgia inside linebackers) coach (Glenn) Schumann, he’ll text me, like, once every week — just checking in on me, seeing how I’m doing,” Godfrey said.
He said he doesn’t have any official visits scheduled, adding that he’s “saving those for the fall,” but he expects Tennessee to get one of them. He might wait until this fall to announce his college decision, but he didn’t rule out that he could pick a school before the start of his senior season.
“If I find a place that feels like home, I might commit on my birthday, August 1st,” Godfrey said.
Asked whether he believes he’s more likely to pick a school this summer or during the fall, he said, “I actually don’t know right now.”
Shocked we don’t have a true linebacker commit but with the attrition and graduations and fact we can sign a large amount in this class, wouldn’t surprise me if we took 3-4. Godfrey, Jefferson, jalen smith, cj allen, telander. Think 3 out of the 5 is likely, and wouldn’t be a bad haul at all.