When discussing the Tennessee Vols’ 2020 recruiting class, the first name that usually pops up is five-star quarterback Harrison Bailey.
And that’s understandable. Quarterbacks are game changers in college football. There’s very little chance of winning a championship without an elite quarterback.
But while Bailey is the most recognizable name in the Vols’ 2020 recruiting class, he isn’t the highest rated player (per 247Sports) that will debut for Tennessee next fall.
That would be Keyshawn Lawrence, a four-star defensive back from Nashville.
Lawrence’s recruit rating in 247Sports’ composite rankings is .9649, which is good enough to be the No. 1 player in the state of Tennessee and the No. 80 overall recruit in the nation.
(By comparison, Bailey is .9558, which is No. 98 in the nation.)
Lawrence obviously isn’t underrated. But he tends to be “forgotten” because of Bailey.
The Tennessee native has a chance to be a dynamic player in Tennessee’s secondary. Lawrence is exactly what Jeremy Pruitt looks for in a defensive back — fast, athletic, long and tall.
247Sports says that Lawrence’s physical tools are “among the most rare of any defensive back in the 2020 cycle”.
We’re going to see Lawrence playing on Sundays eventually. But before he gets to the NFL, we’re going to see him dominate in the SEC.
Fellow 2020 Vols signee Tyler Baron recently had some high praise for Lawrence, telling The Athletic “He’s a generational athlete. They don’t make guys like him very often.”
Baron started his high school career at Ensworth in Nashville with Lawrence (Baron finished his high school career at Knoxville Catholic).
Quarterbacks and pass rushers might be the most important positions on the football filed, but safeties and cornerbacks aren’t far behind. Lawrence is capable of playing any position in the secondary. It’s going to be exciting to see how Pruitt and defensive coordinator/secondary coach Derrick Ansley use Lawrence on Rocky Top.
I’d expect to see Lawrence receive significant playing time in 2020. Pruitt has already showed he’s not afraid to play true freshmen in the secondary if they’re worthy of playing time.
And I have little doubt that Lawrence will prove himself worthy rather quickly.
Featured image via 247Sports