The latest on Tennessee football and signing day with Blake Toppmeyer and Matthew Best Phil Kaplan/News Sentinel
Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith (73) stretches during football practice on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.(Photo: BRIANNA PACIORKA/NEWS SENTINEL)
Linebacker JJ Peterson signed with Tennessee on Wednesday, making him the highest rated player in the Vols' class.
The 6-foot-2 1/2, 231-pound prospect from Colquitt County High in Moultrie, Ga., is the No. 3 outside linebacker prospect nationally according to the 247Sports Composite.
Here's a look back at the highest ranked players of Tennessee's last five signing classes and how they've fared.
OL Trey Smith: He was a major success last fall in a season largely bereft of such stories.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder, the first UT true freshman to start at left tackle in more than 30 years, was named freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. Smith was named a second-team All-SEC honoree by the league coaches and the Associated Press and made the conference's all-freshman team.
Smith, who is from Jackson, Tenn., was the only Tennessee offensive lineman to start all 12 games for the Vols. He had eight starts at right guard, three at left tackle and one at left guard, and also logged playing time at right tackle.
S Nigel Warrior: He started last season at strong safety and recorded a career-high 13 tackles against Georgia Tech.
He had seven tackles and his first career sack against Alabama. Warrior had six tackles and forced a fumble against Florida.>
Tennessee defensive back Nigel Warrior (18) walks on the field during a game between Tennessee and Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo: Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel)
Warrior was an SEC all-freshman honoree in 2016. He played in all 12 regular-season games and led Tennessee freshmen with 22 tackles (19 solo), including one tackle for loss. In UT's 55-0 win over Tennessee Tech on Nov. 5, he led the team with seven tackles. Warrior made his first career start at strong safety against Missouri on Nov. 19 and tied his season high with seven tackles.
DT Kahlil McKenzie: He opted to forgo his senior season and declared last month his intentions of entering the NFL Draft this spring.
McKenzie posted a career-high 35 tackles as a junior. He appeared in 11 games last season, including nine starts, missing the season finale due to injury. McKenzie is the son of Reggie McKenzie, who played at Tennessee and in the NFL. Reggie McKenzie is now the Oakland Raiders' general manager.>
Tennessee defensive lineman Reginald McKenzie Jr. (99) celebrates after a play against Southern Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo: Caitie McMekin, Knoxville News Sentinel)
McKenzie came to Tennessee as a five-star recruit from California. He never developed into a dominant player, but he saw steady playing time throughout his career. He had 24 tackles as a freshman. His sophomore season was cut short due to a pectoral muscle injury.
McKenzie is projected to be a late-round pick by WalterFootball.com draft analyst Charlie Campbell.
WR Josh Malone: He was the second of three fourth-round selections by Cincinnati in last spring's NFL draft. He played in 11 games as a Bengals rookie and started in seven. He had six catches for 63 yards and scored a touchdown.>
Tennessee wide receiver Josh Malone scores a touchdown past Kentucky safety Mike Edwards to give Tennessee a 17-14 lead during the first half at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. (Photo: NEWS SENTINEL)
In three seasons at Tennessee, Malone had 104 receptions for 1,608 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. The 6-3, 208-pound Malone averaged 19.4 yards per reception (a UT single-season record) in 2016, with 11 TDs in 13 games.
WR Marquez North: After forgoing his senior season, North was signed by the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent following the 2016 NFL Draft. He was placed on injured reserve, where he spent his entire rookie season before being waived last June.>
Former Tennessee receiver Marquez North takes off on his 40-yard dash during Pro Day at the Anderson Training Center on Wednesday. Several former UT players ran through drills for NFL scouts. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL) (Photo: Michael Patrick)
North's most productive season at UT was his sophomore year in 2014. He finished fourth on the team in catches (30), second in receiving yards (320) and tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns with four.
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Source : https://www.knoxnews.com/story/sports/college/university-of-tennessee/football/2018/02/07/tennessees-top-ranked-signees-have-had-mixed-results-during-past-five-years/314768002/