Coach’s Corner: An Inside Look at What Tennessee is Getting in Venson Sneed

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Josh Heupel and Tennessee landed their second commitment in as many days as Florida Edge Rusher Venson Sneed has committed to the Volunteers this morning. Sneed, a priority target for Tennessee since Heupel took over, is a star at Winter Park High School in Florida. Prior to the public commitment, Winter Park Defensive Backs Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Chris Hoats gave VR2 on SI an inside look at what makes Sneed a special player. 

"I tell everybody this," Hoats said about what makes Sneed's game special. "All the time, there are like two types of players. There are high effort guys who are undersized but play with a big chip on their shoulder, and there are guys who are mammoths. Well, he is enormous and one of the longest arms, longest legs human beings I have ever seen, and he plays like he is 5'10" like he has something to prove. Just high-motor all the time. I think about this kid named Tyler Davis that we played against at Wekiva (Florida) High School that is at Clemson and looks like a freshman All-American. He was 290 pounds, but he was only six-foot tall. But he played like he was out of his mind all the time. That is exactly how Venson plays, but he is 6'5" and has these long arms. His motor for a guy that size is very unusual. He is not the biggest guy we have had in our program, nor is he the highest-motor guy we have had in our program, but he is the best combination of the two we've ever had. 

As a leader for Winter Park, Sneed carries himself almost as a coach, which is something that has thoroughly impressed Hoats during his time with the latest Tennessee commitment. 

"Nothing slips past him," Hoats said. "Not just his stuff. He handles his stuff. He has incredible grades, he studies hard for tests and the SAT and practice tests, and he does the academic part of it. He watches film. He tries to almost be a coach to the younger guys or the guys down the depth chart. He is making corrections, and he really operates very differently from a high school kid nowadays. He pulls the other guys along and is not just worried about himself. He is worried about it, and he is excelling, as you can tell, but it is pulling the guys around him and making them better, which out of a high school kid, especially a defensive player, is unusual to have. For a defensive player to be coaching the linebackers and holding them accountable is unusual. Nobody running next to Venson is going to not sprint through the line because he is going to give them hell if they walk. In the weight room, nobody is going to short a rack in his group because if they do, he is going to give them hell."

Between now and the college level, there is room for improvement for any player. Sneed will have one more season to work on various things, and Hoats offered up insight on where the touted lineman can improve his game the most. 

"One, I think he is going to put weight on. I think he is going to be a heavier, inside guy. I think he can be a three-technique more of an interior guy. He could certainly play end, too, but I think he could get to 300 pounds and not be fat and still have that high motor and be really athletic. So, obviously, the size part, then he is still raw. He played a lot of offensive line and tight end in Pop Warner, where you don't really get coached as much. Once he got up here to the varsity level, he is started to get coached, and now it is about starting to play with a better pad level. If you watch his film, he is running by guys with great effort, but he is standing straight up sometimes, and at times, he kind of throws the technique out the window. When he starts playing with a little bit better pad level, starts shooting his hands, and doing those little things in college, and getting coached by Coach (Rodney) Garner, and he starts getting right there, it is going to be scary. Everybody better look out."

Continue to follow VR2 on SI for more news about Sneed's commitment.