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Rival Views: Which team will close the strongest in 2019?

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Ed Orgeron
Ed Orgeron (AP Images)

National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney don’t always see eye to eye. In this edition of Rival Views, the two discuss which teams could close the strongest in 2019.

MORE RIVAL VIEWS: Which 2019 class is most surprising? | Which 2019 four-star will Rivals regret not making a five-star?


Ed Orgeron and LSU are going to finish strong next week and they will have plenty to celebrate. While athlete Devonta Lee is serious about Kentucky, LSU gets the last crack this weekend and the Tigers should close the deal. They also get the last in-home visit with defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher, and they have a very good shot at flipping defensive back Christian Williams away from Alabama, which would be a nice role reversal.

They are also involved with a few other top prospects down the stretch and could pull a surprise or two. LSU is currently ranked No. 6 in the country and should stay up in that range or move into the top 5 if they can close on most of their top targets. You can’t ask for more than that.


Jeremy Pruitt
Jeremy Pruitt (AP Images)

There is a possibility Tennessee could have a huge close on National Signing Day if everything falls the right way, and it’s nearly a virtual guarantee that they’re going to add at least one five-star in offensive tackle Darnell Wright. He’s still considering other schools, but the whispers are that the Huntington, W. Va., standout is all but a lock to the Vols.

Things could ramp up even more, though. It’s probably a long shot at this point, but there is still a lot of chatter that five-star receiver George Pickens is serious about Tennessee. He’s been committed to Auburn for so long and Georgia is also a contender, but his recruitment remains really fluid and he’s been quiet about where things actually stand with his final decision.

The other player high on Tennessee’s board is four-star linebacker Henry To’oto’o from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. He’s another one who plays the recruiting game close to the vest. There are some whispers that Alabama might have the slightest edge, even with (defensive coordinator) Tosh Lupoi gone, but there’s no doubt To’oto’o had an excellent visit to Knoxville and the Vols are right in the hunt.

After a disappointing first season under coach Jeremy Pruitt, during which the Vols finished with blowout losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt, recruiting has actually gone really well. Tennessee is No. 14 nationally, it has 11 four-star prospects in the class and if things fall the right way on National Signing Day, the Vols could close with one of the better classes in the country.