Midyear Vols analysis

Corey Vereen

Make InsideTennessee.com your home for the latest in Tennessee football recruiting. Sign in now to read about the foundation of the 2013 signing class.

While much of the attention in the recruiting world is centered around the uncommitted prospects and those rocking back and forth on their declarations, InsideTennessee though it would be a good time to take a look at the Class of 2013 players already in school at Tennessee.

The five below give coach Butch Jones a solid base to a signing class that may include 24 players in all.

Paul Harris (81)

— At 6-4, 195, the Maryland native gives Vol quarterbacks that outside receiver they can target for jump ball situations, especially when matched against vertically challenged cornerbacks. Some have compared his skill set to that of former Vol Justin Hunter.

With both Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson leaving early for the NFL Draft and Zach Rogers graduating, Harris is among a vast group that will get the opportunity to compete for starting spots.

Harris averaged 22.9 yards per reception his final year at Frederick Douglass (Md.) High, which shows his ability to make plays down the field and perform after the catch. Both are skills that turned heads last summer at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore.

Lemond Johnson (28)

— The Sunshine State product is one to watch for during spring drills as he is listed currently as an athlete. The belief is that he winds up in the secondary but needs and injuries could push him all over the field before he settles in.

Tennessee may have missed out on several previously committed players when the staff overhaul took place but Johnson's enrollment is a direct result of bonds previously made by assistants during their time at other schools.

The former Auburn pledge has a better chance of withstanding the culture shock that some South Florida signees undergo as he previously lived in Raleigh, N.C. He is also a cerebral player as his father was an assistant coach at Cooper City (Fla.) High School.

Riyahd Jones (21)

— Southeastern Conference schools like Kentucky and Texas A&M gave a hard push for the Garden City (Kan.) Community College cornerback down the stretch but a bond with Vol assistant Willie Martinez helped get Jones to Knoxville.

Another tie to Rocky Top that aided in getting Jones in orange was fellow Columbus, Ga., native Deion Bonner. However, Bonner's off-the-field troubles saw his removal from the roster and the two won't get the chance to compete together.

Fresh off one of the worst performing defenses in modern school history, numerous starting jobs are wide open and that's music to the ears of any JUCO signee. Jones' enrolling early should give him a chance to compete immediately on the island.

Jalen Reeves-Maybin (34)

— Given his in-state status, being a four-star recruit, a heralded high school career and a multi-time visitor, even casual followers of Tennessee recruiting have knowledge of Reeves-Maybin.

Like Johnson, he is listed as an athlete on the university's roster. He has a vast set of skills and his speed transitions to the football field as well as any prospect the Vols will sign in 2013.

Recovery from surgery to repair a torn labrum may keep him away from contact this spring, but he will be able to log mental reps, which will be key as he may have to learn multiple positions from linebacker to safety to running back.

Corey Vereen (50)

— In recent classes, Tennessee has done a terrific job mining central Florida for talent. This Winter Garden, Fla., recruit joins the likes of Alton Howard, Nathan Peterman, Trevarris Saulsberry and Jordan Williams as players from that region that have bright futures ahead for the Orange & White.

At 6-2, 230, Vereen looked to be the perfect fit for the 3-4 scheme. However, coordinator John Jancek is installing a return to the 4-3 and Tennessee has Vereen listed as a linebacker. That could change after the spring, but he has to get used to playing without a hand on the ground and running sideline to sideline.

Vereen, who first committed back on March 2, 2012, makes plays at the point of contact whether lined up at end or linebacker. Once he improves his size and/or speed, he could push for playing time.

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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