The 247 rankings are not officially released until January 31, so it’s difficult to predict how many prospects will be on the field for the 2015 class.
But it’s clear that the top 10 recruits on the board will be the biggest names on the list.
This is a class that is already loaded with talent and a strong recruiting class.
The 2016 class has the nation’s top two receivers, wide receivers Devin Street and Amari Cooper, defensive end Joey Bosa, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, safety Malik Hooker, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, quarterback Marcus Mariota, defensive back Jalen Ramsey, cornerback Marcus Maye and linebacker Chris Borland.
The rest of the class is projected to add to that group, as well as help to give Mariota the depth he needs to take the next step.
But that depth is not assured and it’s a concern for Tennessee.
While the Vols are in the top five of 247Sports’ rankings, they’re still the least ranked team in the SEC.
The Gators were a combined 3-5 heading into the season and are now ranked 10th.
Tennessee is in the bottom four of the league.
And the Volers have yet to score a single point against an SEC opponent.
Tennessee also has one of the most experienced rosters in the country.
The Vols have three-star running back Dalvin Cook, three-stars quarterback DeShone Kizer, three players who could be top-10 picks and one-star cornerback Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
They also have two four-star offensive tackles who could end up being NFL starters.
The Vols should be the best team in this class.
They have all the talent and should have a solid depth at all five positions.
And they should have the most talented defense in the league behind a strong front seven.
The issue for Tennessee is how the Gators will defend the run.
Florida is a team that plays hard, but its run defense is just not as stout as Tennessee’s.
And it’s not just Florida that needs help.
Tennessee has to figure out how to stop the run more often, especially if it’s an option for the offense.
The offense needs to create turnovers to get points and the Voles have a weak passing game.
But if the offense is not able to run the ball consistently, it can’t be a consistent threat to the Volts run defense.
If Tennessee can’t create turnovers and attack the line of scrimmage more often in the run game, the Volgers run defense will suffer.
This offense will need a major upgrade at running back.
In addition to Cook, the Gators have two running backs who could become top-five picks in the draft.
If Florida is able to get its ground game back, it should be a strong team that can take advantage of any mistakes that the defense makes.
But the problem for Tennessee will be finding its running game in the middle of the field.
It’s a question of finding players with good athleticism and length who can run through the holes.
The problem for the Volses will be getting guys like Austin Allen and Elijah Hood to get more snaps, especially in the passing game where the defense needs help more than ever.
The defense is going to need help in the secondary, which could be a problem.
Tennessee lost three starters to graduation this year and lost two defensive backs from last season.
The addition of former four-stars D.J. Campbell and former four and five-star safety Kevin King will be key.
The Volunteers have a good depth at safety, but a lot of the guys that will start in the fall could end in the NFL.
Tennessee will need to find its starting safety if the defense is to get any consistent help.
And while Tennessee is not without talent, the defense lacks a lot in the pass rush.
It has only one defensive tackle and three safeties.
The biggest issue could be getting any players on the defensive line to stay healthy.
But even with the departures, the Volunteers have some depth in the front seven and in the defensive backfield.
This defense is one of those teams that might end up as the No. 1 defense in this year’s recruiting class if it gets its act together.
The Tennessee Volunteers have three top-40 players in linebacker Dontari Poe, defensive lineman Jovon Johnson and cornerback D’Joun Smith.
Poe, a three-time All-SEC pick and a first-team All-American in 2014, is a guy that will be a top-15 recruit in the 2016 class.
Johnson was a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft and he could end as one of Tennessee’s top-50 recruits.
Smith was a three, five-year starter at safety for the Gators.
He had the best game of his career against Tennessee in 2015 and could end the season as a first team All-Big 12 selection.
But if the Gators can’t find consistency in the trenches, they could end it on the offensive line.
The Florida offensive