I’ve come a long way with De1. I used to employ the NPA narrative with him, but I now believe he’s very loyal with the kids but not necessarily a shill. I think HE buys his assessment of Grimes, but that it’s contradictory of the science he used with Maliek Gray. I give him a big pass...til he drags my name onto his revenge list. 😉
A nice get for Tennessee on day one of the 2020 Early Signing Period was three-star athlete Len’Neth Whitehead, who was heavily coveted as both a linebacker and running back. The Vols held off both South Carolina and UCLA just enough.
“Tennessee was my first SEC offer and I had been in communication with them for a while,” Whitehead reflected. “They were recruiting me hard and I was able to build a close relationship with coach [Jeremy] Pruitt and even coach [Kevin] Sherrer when he was there.”
The Athens, Ga. native has good size (6-foot-2, 235 pounds) and speed (4.5 in the 40-yard dash) and was one of the higher-rated linebacker prospects in the country. Tennessee, like many programs, projected Whitehead on the defensive side of the football. Despite a need right away in the middle of the 3-4 schemed front-seven, Whitehead elected to play offense at the next level. His recruitment, thus, changed.
“Most of my recruitment was for linebacker but when I shifted my focus, Tennessee did too,” Whitehead told Volquest. “I struggled picking one position, but my heart was at running back so that’s what I chose. “I’m closed in at running back and have no desire to play linebacker. Tennessee’s coaches were fine with that.”
“I was on campus a few weekends ago and was able to hang out with coach [Jay] Graham at the Tennessee/Florida basketball game,” Whitehead said. “We had already been in contact even before that day, but it was good to be around him. “I’ve developed a nice relationship with him and look forward to getting to work.”
Pruitt has been looking for a ‘big’ running back since taking over as Tennessee’s head coach. Jeremy Banks fit the bill for a period of time, while freshman linebacker Quavaris Crouch handled short yardage situations this past season. “I’m a bigger back for sure, but I think my whole focus this offseason is not just to be the big back and short yardage guy,” Whitehead said. “My focus is to be a better all-around running back.”
Having the opportunity to run the ball was a factor in coming to Knoxville for the three-star, but the Athens Academy product also wanted to help restore the tradition of excellence Tennessee football was once known for. “I was borderline for a minute, and I wrote down the pros and cons about how I felt when I was on Tennessee’s campus,” Whitehead said. “I talked to coach Pruitt about a week before the early signing period and he said some things that stuck out to me.
“The fans are crazy and I’m ready to come together as a team and make a run at a national championship. The opportunity to play and be a part of rebuilding process was appealing. I want to help bring Tennessee back to the top.”
The new Vol comes from a stout football tradition himself as he was a critical member of two squads that played in Georgia state championship games. Whitehead did, however, suffer an injury that caused him to miss the final few weeks of his senior campaign. No worries, however, as he should be ready for fall camp.
“I suffered a midfoot injury the first of October, but my rehab has been going great,” the athlete said. “I was just cleared to start running and cutting, so I’m real excited about that. “I’ll be ready.” Whitehead’s report date is scheduled for May 26.
That is what I see as well. He looks so much bigger than the other kids on the field. I see a kid getting away with the size advantage at the HS level. Maybe he can be a Derrick Henry type back but just having size don't lead to success and I don't see the dynamic skill set. Ultimately he's probably closer to 4.6 than 4.5 in the 40. That is generally wrong but it'll be nice if it's accurate.