The Tennessee Vols‘ defense received a huge boost on Monday, landing a commitment from Texas transfer linebacker Juwan Mitchell.
This is a massive pick-up for the Vols. The program’s linebacker depth can best be described as thin.
— JuJu (@juwanmitchell_6) May 3, 2021
Mitchell, who was rated as a three-star linebacker in the 2019 recruiting class, will provide Tennessee’s defense with plenty of experience. The New Jersey native was the Longhorns’ leading tackler in 2020. He should immediately slot in as a starter for the Vols.
The latest addition to Tennessee’s football program spoke with VolQuest after revealing his decision and he made an interesting comment that seemingly refers to his time at Texas.
“This time around I’m choosing the people in the building over a building,” said Mitchell.
It certainly sounds as though the people inside the Texas football program weren’t what Mitchell thought they would be.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Former Longhorns head coach Tom Herman — who was fired after the 2020 season and replaced by Steve Sarkisian — didn’t exactly have a great reputation with players.
Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte told Hookem.com in early January that players on the roster at the time were negatively recruiting against Herman.
Current players are leaving, and recruits are looking elsewhere. Then, Del Conte learned that some players currently on the roster were doing negative recruiting, telling some not to come to UT.
I don’t know if Mitchell was specifically referring to Herman with his comments, but it’s clear the situation in Austin wasn’t great.
The same could be said about the situation in Knoxville this past season, too. Before Jeremy Pruitt was fired as the Vols’ head coach, the atmosphere at Tennessee was a mess.
New head coach Josh Heupel, however, has been hard at work since his arrival, doing what he can to change the culture at UT.
Whatever he is doing is obviously working. The energy at Tennessee is one of the main reasons Mitchell chose the Vols over other programs.
“I like their energy,” explained Mitchell. “I feel like I can match it and be a spark. It’s just going to be a great move.”
Featured image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports