The Tennessee Vols extended a scholarship offer to 2021 four-star wide receiver Gavin Blackwell on Wednesday.

Blackwell, 5-foot-11/170 lbs from Monroe, NC, is rated by 247Sports as the No. 12 player in the state of North Carolina and the No. 26 wide receiver in the nation.

In addition to his offer from Tennessee, Blackwell also holds offers from Florida, North Carolina, Penn State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

North Carolina is obviously a state where the Vols need to recruit well to be successful.

But landing landing Blackwell could be a tall task.

The talented wide receiver played two seasons in high school with UNC quarterback signee Sam Howell.

Blackwell recently told Rivals of Howell “playing with him in high school was amazing”. He added “our relationship is still tight, we still talk every week, probably every day”.

Not only does the presence of Howell give UNC a bit of a head start in Blackwell’s recruitment, but distance could also be a factor.

Monroe is only a 2 and a half hour from Chapel Hill, while Knoxville is a little over four hours away.

That’s not a huge difference, but Blackwell has made it clear that staying close to home would be nice, telling Rivals “I don’t shut anyone out but staying close to home would be pretty big”.

Blackwell was quick to add, however, that he was open to going somewhere else, saying “at the end of the day, I’m just going to make the best pick for me”.

Tennessee could definitely use Blackwell, a versatile receiver who is is capable of picking up plenty of yards after a catch, in Jim Chaney’s offense. But Jeremy Pruitt and company have their work cut out for them if they plan to bring Blackwell to Rocky Top.

Of course, we all know Pruitt isn’t one to back down from a recruiting challenge.

Featured image via 247Sports 

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