The Tennessee Vols are working hard to put together a top five 2021 recruiting class, but that doesn’t mean they’re not also working hard on their 2022 recruiting class.

Tennessee doesn’t currently have any players committed to its 2022 recruiting class, but they could be one of the programs to beat for the nation’s No. 3 rated 2022 recruit.

Five-star defensive lineman Walter Nolen, 6-foot-4/300 lbs, is rated in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 2 player in the state of Tennessee and the No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation. And he has a strong Vols connection.

Nolen, who played at IMG Academy in Florida last season (where UT quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke used to be the head coach), will play at St. Benedict at Auburndale in the Memphis area in 2020 according a recent report from Go Vols 247.

Former Vols defensive lineman Marlon Walls will be Nolen’s head coach at St. Benedict at Auburndale.

Walls played at Tennessee from 2009-2013 and he has several connections to the current Vols coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley and running backs coach Jay Graham were all on staff at UT during various points of Walls’ tenure as a Vol.

Tennessee Vols

Tennessee, the program that gave Nolen his first scholarship offer, is making sure that Nolen knows he’s a priority on Rocky Top.

“I talk to them a lot. I talk to them weekly. I’ve been talking to Coach Pruitt. They’re just telling me they’ll be a good fit for me, since it’ll be closer to home and stuff,” said Nolen to 247Sports this week.

There’s obviously a long way to go in Nolen’s recruitment, but if there’s a favorite this early it has to be the Volunteers.

Featured image via 247Sports
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