Nearly a month ago, Tennessee lost a commitment from Top 100 safety Antonio Johnson, but the Vols didn’t truly sweat it because McDaniel has long been a major priority. The Vols would welcome Johnson back in the class, but with McDaniel now on board, they’re likely to shift their focus away from the secondary and look to add several linebackers — both inside guys like Bryson Eason and Len’Neth Whitehead and pass rushers like Sav’ell Smalls and Reggie Grimes.
McDaniel also gives Tennessee another tie-in with 5-star wideout Rakim Jarrett. The nation’s No. 17 prospect remains committed to LSU, but he talks to Tee Martin regularly and is close with UT quarterback commit Harrison Bailey. Adding one of Jarrett’s teammates and friends won’t hurt Tennessee’s efforts to flip the 5-star wideout, either.
THere’s a lot to like about McDaniel’s physical abilities. He’s a tall, long safety with elite speed. He has a frame that can really fill out at the next level. I’m excited to see how he develops this year with his football instincts and ability to be a playmaker on the field. I think we’re going to see him spread his wings a little bit this year as a safety.
This is a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect. He still needs to develop but you can’t substitute anything for his speed. It’s a major addition for Tennessee and McDaniel is someone I expect to contribute in a big way down the road.”
— Adam Friedman, Rivals Analyst