KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After playing the most true freshmen of any Football Bowl Subdivision team this past season, Tennessee has added a heralded recruiting class full of newcomers who also could contribute right away.
The Volunteers signed a class Wednesday that appeared destined for a consensus top-five ranking. Tennessee had a similarly rated class last year and ended up playing 23 true freshmen.
"We want every individual in this recruiting class to have the mentality that they're coming in and competing for jobs right away, they're coming in and competing for playing time," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "And then we'll see how they develop."
The class addresses Tennessee's depth concerns on both sides of the line of scrimmage and is particularly strong on the defensive front with the additions of Kahlil McKenzie, Shy Tuttle, Kyle Phillips, Andrew Butcher, Quay Picou and Darrell Taylor. McKenzie and Phillips are both rated as five-star prospects by multiple services. Mike Farrell, a national recruiting director for Rivals, called it one of the top five defensive line classes anyone has signed since the current version of Rivals formed in 2002.
Tennessee also shored up its quarterback position by signing consensus four-star prospects Quinten Dormady, Jauan Jennings and Sheriron Jones. Joshua Dobbs is Tennessee's only returning scholarship quarterback following Wednesday's announcement that reserve Nathan Peterman was transferring to Pittsburgh.
Top 25 Class: Yes
Best in class: McKenzie is rated as the nation's No. 1 overall player by Scout and also is considered a five-star prospect by Rivals and 247Sports. McKenzie is the son of Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who played linebacker at Tennessee from 1981-84.
Best of the rest: Phillips, running back Alvin Kamara, offensive tackle Drew Richmond and wide receiver Preston Williams are all rated as five-star prospects by at least one recruiting service. Kamara is a Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College transfer who began his college career at Alabama.
Late addition: Richmond decommitted from Mississippi and signed with Tennessee. Rivals ranks Richmond as the nation's No. 2 offensive tackle in the 2015 class.
One that got away: Kendall Bussey, a running back from New Orleans, withdrew his verbal commitment to Tennessee and signed with Texas A&M.