Yes, it is only April, and yes, there is a long way to go until Dylan Brooks or any recruit in the 2021 class signs there National Letter of Intent. However, when Dylan Brooks committed to Tennessee yesterday, it was a sign that Vols fans have been waiting on.
Brooks is the top-rated prospect in the state of Alabama, and he is the number one weak-side defensive end in the country, according to 247 Sports.
Only twice in the last decade of modern recruiting has the top player in the state of Alabama left the state for another college, according to 247 Sports. George Pickens left for Georgia, and Justyn Ross left for Clemson. Both programs have challenged the Crimson Tide on the recruiting trail nationally since then.
Georgia signed a large portion of in-state talent during Kirby Smart's first two seasons, but over the last couple of cycles, Smart's Bulldogs have won battles all over America. Winning helps, and the Vols ended their season on the right note to start winning these battles.
Brooks' commitment is a statement that the Vols are serious competitors across the board. It is a statement that Jeremy Pruitt and Derrick Ansley can go anywhere and win a recruiting battle.
During a virus outbreak that has the recruiting world shutdown, Pruitt and Co. went to Alabama and took the state's top player away from the two home-state programs with both programs in active pursuit.
Pruitt and Ansley have been highly successful in the state of Alabama during their careers recruiting and developing numerous first-round talents from the state. Now, they have a chance to sell that they are winning recruiting battles there once again.
The Vols 2019 class was centered around Wanya Morris in 2019, and he committed at the first of May. Brooks will now be the same cornerstone of the class that Morris was.
This commitment can certainly be viewed as a spark towards a brighter future for the Vols.