'25 TN DL Ethan Utley (Tennessee commit)

Powerful Hands: ...Utley weighs 270 pounds and uses his hands like he's 300 pounds when he wants to. He knows how to place his hands on an offensive tackle's shoulder pads and deliver through his leverage. Utley also does a nice job sequencing his attacks - he can use his hands for power or finesse. He doesn't have to go 100 miles per hour every time; Utley throws off opposing players by changing his speed and power when he attacks.

Elite Lateral Athlete: ...Utley...has skinny ankles on tape, allowing him to change his direction without losing any lower-body velocity. When he attacks, he looks like a boxer, varying his horizontal movement before attacking an opponent's hips. There's a method to how Utley attacks offensive linemen with his lateral agility, and it's quite advanced for a young pass-rusher.

Pass-rush Arsenal: ...Utley has a very advanced set of moves that allows him to win quickly. His skill set features a swim move, for which he has already developed several different counters. Utley can swim inside or outside, depending on how an offensive lineman sets up in pre-snap...

Impact Analysis: What Does Ethan Utley Bring To The Tennessee Volunteers?
Impact Analysis

“Ethan Utley is a well-rounded Division 1 prospect,” Power said of Utley. “He plays a lot as a big defensive end for Ensworth. He first came on the scene early in his high school career. I remember attending an Ensworth game back in 2022 and first seeing him in person. He passes the eye test. He has a big frame and measured at over 6-3, 275 pounds over a year ago. He is a guy who has the capacity to hold over 300 pounds. At that size, has light-footed movement skills. I think the fact he plays as a defensive end has certainly helped his natural pass-rush skillset from a technical perspective. He shows a good first step, is active with his hands, and creates a good bit of disruption despite drawing a lot of attention from opposing offensive lines this past season. I think, ultimately, we project him to slide inside as he gets bigger. I think once he does slide inside at the college level, he has the potential to create a mismatch as a pass-rusher on the interior just given his experience as a pass-rusher at the high school level and his skillsets such as first step quickness, active hands, and overall movement skills.”

Power also feels like Utley adds to a line of blue-chip prospects Tennessee has brought in from within the state borders, and sees Utley as a high-ceiling prospect for the Vols.

“I feel like Tennessee has really targeted and brought in a lot of top in-state blue chip prospects under Josh Heupel,” Power continued. “Ethan Utley kind of continues that trend. He plays against really good competition among the private school ranks, so he sees a lot of college-level players and has played at a high level for the past few seasons. I think there is a lot to like about him. He is a guy who has a pretty well-rounded profile. Multi-sport background and makes plays on Friday night. I think there is certainly some potential for Ethan Utley to develop into a mismatch as an interior pass-rusher.”

How Does it impact the defensive line?​

Utley hopes to make it to campus for bowl prep if his high school will allow it. This would be big for his career, but as the first defensive line commitment in the cycle for the Vols, this is a vital win any way you look at it.

Utley was coveted by two teams who made it to the playoffs last season, and for good reason. Texas gave him plenty to think about, but this is a signature win for the Vols on the trail, as they get a high-ceiling player, who has the potential to be a multi-year contributor on Rocky Top.

-M Ray
With friends and family in attendance at his commitment party, Ensworth defensive lineman Ethan Utley announced his commitment to Tennessee. Before his announcement, Volquest caught up with the 4-star lineman to discuss his decision.

“Just the relationship that I have built with coach G and coach Heup and those guys,” Utley said about why he picked the Vols. “Just knowing my career at Tennessee will explode playing under the best defensive line coach in college football. And just knowing that coach Heupel and the rest of the team all the way down to the graduate assistants we will continue to build the program to get it back to where it was when we were competing for national championships. I’m going to continue to recruit guys in my class and knowing we are going to build a wall around the state of Tennessee knowing we can pull in guys instate. It’s one of those things that hit head on for me in staying home and playing for the best fan base in college football.”

Of course, the recruitment isn't over. I think we all understand that. Still, I would always rather be the school with the commitment, than one of the schools trying to flip. Especially, when it's an in-state player. At the very least, we are in the lead. If you don't think a commitment over 8 months before the early signing period means anything anymore? That's fine ..... but why even be here right now then?
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