‘23 TN OL Joe Crocker

allvolrecruiting

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One of the better prospects in the state of Tennessee for the 2023 class, Joe Crocker, was in house for Tennessee’s win over South Alabama last weekend.

“It was a great visit. It was good to see coach [Glen] Elarbee, [Alex] Golesh and [Josh] Heupel in pregame and postgame,” Crocker told Volquest

For an offensive lineman, it was neat for the 6-foot-6, 320-pound bruiser to see the defense scrambling and caught off guard before the snap, because of the pace. “It’s a great offense to score some points, too.”

Tennessee’s staff is staying in regular contact with the Franklin Road Academy standout, talking at least once a week.

“Their ability to score on any defense this season has been pretty evident, and I think the offensive line has played well,” Crocker said. “The fan base always shows up and blows up my tweets. Everything jumps off the chart. “Plus, it’s only about 3-4 hours away from home and it being the in-state school is pretty cool.”

The Tennessee target will likely release a top-eight in the coming weeks-to-months, but there’s still several schools who are in constant contact with Crocker who have yet to offer, but who could (Oklahoma, Penn State, Nebraska).

“My plan is to continue and try to visit all the schools I could realistically see myself attending over the next year or so,” Crocker concluded. “I’m excited to start the official visit process and I’ve heard they are fun. I’m pretty confident I’ll be back at Tennessee for an official.”

- VQ
 

SoilVol

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He loves UT. I helped coach his brothers middle school team this fall. He came to fill water bottles (FRA middle vs Colombia academy) the night UT played bowling green, and was watching the game on his phone giving updates gushing over UT offense. Loves Golesh
That's good to hear. Hopefully will commit early and help recruit. Would be nice to get the 3 top OL in the state, Crocker, Brown (Henry County), and Sanders (Baylor) in '23.
 

allvolrecruiting

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That's good to hear. Hopefully will commit early and help recruit. Would be nice to get the 3 top OL in the state, Crocker, Brown (Henry County), and Sanders (Baylor) in '23.
Not sure we still have traction with Luke Brown. Should land Sanders and Bussell. Crocker has narrowed down his list, and we are in a really good spot. Not sure how much of a chance Michigan has but you have to imagine going to Ohio State-Michigan and spending the day with Titans OT Taylor Lewan as a Nashville kid impressed him this past weekend. I think Crocker comes down to UT-UK tbh and I think we win
 

VolzMan53

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In-state OL sees Vols 'really changing it around' under Heupel

Joe Crocker hasn’t been completely caught off guard by the improvement Tennessee has shown during its first year under coach Josh Heupel. But he has kept a close eye on the Vols throughout this season, and their progress on the field has caught his attention.

The Class of 2023 offensive lineman from Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, Tenn., who visited Tennessee last month for the third time in less than six months, said he was impressed by how competitive the Vols were this season against some of the best teams on their schedule. They finished the regular season with a 7-5 record and the SEC’s No. 3 scoring offense.

“I wasn’t really surprised, but I was kind of put on notice by it,” said Crocker, who’s ranked the No. 361 overall prospect and No. 24 offensive tackle in the 2023 class and the No. 11 junior from the state of Tennessee, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. “I mean, you saw the Ole Miss game. Ole Miss, they have one of the best offenses in the country, but Tennessee was going toe-to-toe with them.

“And, honestly, that last play was just a mental mistake. If they score, they win. For me, that was kind of crazy to watch.

“And they scored the most points on Georgia at the end of the season. The Alabama game was a close game until the second half, and that was just because of bodies, I guess, and the depth that Alabama has compared to what Tennessee has. I mean, that’s kind of what changed the game, I think, for that game.

“To me, it was just like, man, they are really changing it around. It’s changing fast, too.”

Tennessee also is one of the teams recruiting him hardest, along with Michigan and Kentucky, among the 14 programs pursuing him. He said the same three schools are currently standing out to him, along with Penn State and Oklahoma.

Crocker made a brief stop at Tennessee in early June, taking his first look at the Vols under Heupel, and returned in late July to attend their “Rocky Top Palooza” event. He most recently returned to Knoxville on Nov. 20 for Tennessee’s home game against South Alabama.

He had been to a few of the Vols’ games at Neyland Stadium in the past. But he said he enjoyed seeing their fast-paced offense in person last month and spending more time with Heupel’s staff.

“It was pretty cool,” Crocker said. “You could see the tempo of the offense, for sure, and that was something for me that was really impressive to watch. I can remember multiple plays where the defense wasn’t even set, and it was just exciting to see how the offense completely tore apart a college defense.”

Tennessee offensive line coach Glen Elarbee, offensive coordinator Alex Golesh and Heupel all met with Crocker during the visit.

“Before the game, I talked to Heupel, Elarbee (and) Golesh for, like, pretty much the whole time pregame. And then, postgame, I stayed and talked to Coach Elarbee, and his wife actually came to talk to us, as well,” Crocker said.

“It was just good to talk to them. They were just like, ‘Thanks for coming up,’ asking about just family stuff and, ‘How’s life going?’ It was just a normal conversation. It was just good to get that because one big thing for me is the family stuff. So, just talking about that, that was kind of cool.”

The Vols have continued to show Crocker plenty of attention. They made a pair of stops at Franklin Road Academy during the contact period leading up to Early Signing Day, with both Golesh and Elarbee visiting the school.

“On the phone, I’ll talk to Coach Elarbee probably most — Coach Golesh, too — and then Coach Heupel will reach out to me and see how I’m doing,” Crocker said. “It’s pretty cool to build a good bond with them. They told me that I should come back (to Tennessee) in January, so I’m probably going to go back in January.”

Crocker said Elarbee also has mentioned the possibility of hosting him on a visit at “a separate time so I can just spend all the time with him.”

Elarbee and some of Tennessee’s other coaches were encouraged by Crocker’s development this season.

“He just told me that he really likes my trend and how I’ve been working hard since freshman year, and how I’ve changed my film and stuff like that, and my body,” Crocker said. “And I’m still obviously so young — still 16 — and he wants people that are good people, as well, and people that can have a high ceiling. And he said that I fit that.”

Crocker said he also went to games at Auburn, Michigan, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt this season. A few teams have started to stand out to him.

“I mean, I love Michigan,” Crocker said. “(Defensive backs) coach (Steve) Clinkscale, I talk to him basically every day. I mean, I really like Michigan. You can’t really beat the Ohio State game. And the season they’re having, too, it’s just proof that what they’re doing there is the right thing. I really liked my time there.

“I like Tennessee a lot, too. Tennessee was really great, and building that bond with all them was great. And then same with Kentucky. (Offensive line) coach (Eric) Wolford reaches out almost every day, and me and him have built a pretty good bond. He’s been to school, as well.”

Crocker said he envisions announcing his college decision “before my senior season.”

“I would like to commit early, honestly,” he said. “Kind of just waiting for the right time to find a place. And then, when I find a place, I’m just probably going to pull the trigger. I would like to wait for this next wave of (offers). After the season is when they have more time to watch film and stuff.”

-Callahan
 

VolzMan53

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Sounds like a UT vs Michigan shootout?
Maybe if Tennessee pushes for him, but I think he and many of the schools recruiting him are still taking things slowly for now. I think the Vols have interest in him, but they’re still in the evaluation process with him, in my opinion.
-Callahan
 

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