Fact or Fiction: Tennessee has the SEC's best O-line
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
CLASS OF 2022: Top 100
1) Tennessee has the best offensive line in the SEC this season.
Farrell’s take: FACT. What, no Alabama? ‘Bama will be up there for sure led by Alex Leatherwood and Evan Neal but it won’t be better than the loaded OL of the Vols. With Trey Smith and Georgia transfer Cade Mays leading the way, the Vols also brag Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright as well as Alabama transfer Brandon Kennedy. On paper this is a line with experience and upside. It should be rock solid while Alabama and others have some holes to fill. The OL shouldn’t be the issue at Tennessee. Quarterback play? That’s another story.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Tennessee has a very talented group across the board; Morris and Wright can be superstars in Knoxville. But I’m just not going to bet against Alabama’s offensive line, which is just as good, if not better. Leatherwood could be a first-round NFL Draft pick, Deonte Brown will be a beast, Neal is massive and Landon Dickerson should be great. There might be some questions at right tackle but I’m confident Nick Saban will figure it out. Tennessee has a great offensive line, too, but I’ll still side with ‘Bama.
2) Ty Thompson will be better than Sam Huard.
Farrell’s take: FACT. This is speculative but that’s the game here despite the name Fact or Fiction. Ty Thompson, the Oregon commitment, and Sam Huard, committed to Washington, will be compared for years as long as each keeps developing. And while Huard is ranked as a five-star and higher than Thompson, I feel that Thompson has more upside and potential in the long run. He’s big, mobile and has great arm talent. He’s further from his ceiling than Huard is. I liked Thompson on film and loved him in my film breakdown of the Elite 11. I have had a few questions about Huard being a five-star. This will be fun to watch.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. There has not been a player in the West region who has proven himself more than Thompson this offseason and phenomenal performances at the Rivals Camp in Los Angeles and the Elite 11, and he could be in the five-star discussion at the position. But Huard could be in the discussion as the best quarterback in this class because of his arm ability and especially his accuracy. The Washington commit almost never throws a bad ball, he’s a quiet leader on the field and he’s really exciting to watch. Both are great quarterbacks but Huard still holds the edge.
3) Leonard Taylor will choose Miami over Florida.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Taylor, an elite DT from Florida, said he has a top two of Florida and Miami and many have had him pencilled into the Gators' class for a while now. Not so fast. As a Miami-area recruit and COVID-19 changing recruiting, I have Taylor staying home at Miami and some sources to back it up. Miami is on a bit of a slow roll in recruiting lately and Taylor would be a huge addition.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Miami is making this race more interesting but Florida has had the edge for some time and Taylor has said multiple times that he has the best relationship with that staff especially with David Turner, Brian Johnson and others. I also don’t believe COVID-19 is going to play a factor here since Florida is only five hours from his home. The Hurricanes will stay right there in this recruitment but the Gators have the lead.