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Feb 7, 2019

GoVols247's Wes Rucker, Patrick Brown and Ryan Callahan went into Fort Rucker Studio to break down a big National Signing Day and provide thoughts on Tennessee’s full class — a class that looks a lot better now than it did Tuesday night.

Tennessee had a decent class heading into National Signing Day, but the Vols closed with a bang, landing five-star West Virginia offensive lineman Darnell Wright and four-star California linebacker Henry To’oto’o, the nation’s top two uncommitted prospects heading into the day.

A big finish helped the Vols surge to the No. 12 spot in the 247Sports Team Recruiting Rankings, and they were mere percentage points from cracking the top 10.

Unfortunately for the Vols, though, having the nation’s No. 12 class meant having the No. 7 class in the recruiting-mad SEC, meaning Jeremy Pruitt and his staff still have plenty of coaching to do in order to bring Tennessee back toward its customary place in college football’s pecking order.

The 2019 cycle wasn’t unkind to the Vols, though. They signed some of their most coveted targets, and their class was much better than any other program that didn’t play in a bowl game last season.

A new recruiting star has emerged for Tennessee, too. Vols tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer — who had never been a full-time assistant coach until leaving a quality-control position at Alabama and following Pruitt to Tennessee — had a huge year on the trail, and he was named 247Sports’ National Recruiter of the Year.

Niedermeyer, an Alaska native, was the point man for several of Tennessee’s top signees, including Wright and To’oto’o. He’s the lowest-paid member of Pruitt’s staff at the moment, but that probably won’t be the case for long, especially considering the fact that he’s already turned down multiple opportunities to leave Tennessee for other major programs.

Tennessee’s 2019 recruiting class is the sole focus of this episode, and more than a hour was spent discussing the strengths, weaknesses and uncertainties in the Vols’ latest prospect haul.

Every member of GoVols247’s staff aside from Grant Ramey — who was in West Virginia on Wednesday to cover Wright’s commitment ceremony — selected a 2019 signee outside the Top247 who could have a big college career, and some special attention was given to a member of this class with world-class cult-hero potential.