Perhaps Wednesday was simply an off day in this world of torrid Tennessee football recruiting.
After receiving quality commitments for the 2021 cycle on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the Volunteers resumed their impressive stockpiling of talent Thursday afternoon with a nonbinding pledge from five-star outside linebacker Terrence Lewis of Hollywood, Florida. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Chaminade-Madonna Prep is the nation's top outside linebacker and the No. 10 overall prospect in the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
"Roll with us or get rolled over," Lewis posted on Twitter with a GBO hashtag, a reference to Go Big Orange. "Eat with us or get ate."
Jeremy Pruitt's program has gained commitments from two five-star and two four-star prospects since the start of the week, vaulting to fourth in the 247Sports team rankings behind Ohio State, North Carolina and Florida amid a recruiting landscape altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I've been trying to think back, and I really can't remember a week quite like this that Tennessee's had in recent memory under Jeremy Pruitt or the former staff in terms of the level of players that we're talking about," 247Sports recruiting analyst Ryan Callahan said. "There have been some big finishes on signing day, and Butch Jones had a day where he got several commitments during a summer recruiting event, but they usually haven't been this caliber of player.
"You're talking about landing two of the top 30 players in the country in less than a week, so this is pretty remarkable, and the funny thing is that Tennessee may not be done."
Lewis wasn't Tennessee's only commitment Thursday, with running back Tiyon Evans of Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College also pledging to the Vols. The 5-9, 225-pound Evans is originally from Hartsville, South Carolina, and he is a three-star prospect and the top junior-college running back, according to 247Sports.
Tennessee's surge began Sunday with Dylan Brooks, the 6-5, 240-pound weakside defensive end from Roanoke, Alabama. Brooks is a five-star prospect, and 247Sports rates him as the nation's No. 18 overall recruit.
The next two days yielded four-star commitments for the Vols, with safety Kamar Wilcoxson (6-1, 183) of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, declaring Monday, and receiver Julian Nixon (6-3, 230) from the Atlanta suburb of Roswell announcing Tuesday.
"To some degree, some of this may have been coordinated among the players themselves," Callahan said. "Julian Nixon mentioned on Tuesday that he had been in contact with Dylan Brooks and Kamar Wilcoxson and that those guys discussed it and liked the idea of doing their announcements on three consecutive days, but some of this has been organic as well. Landing Wilcoxson on Monday has helped them with some guys, because he's well connected in the Atlanta area, which is where he's from.
"He has also been a Florida commitment, so he's gotten to know Terrence Lewis, and that maybe helped Tennessee get some momentum with him. I think some of this has been coordinated but definitely not all of it. Tennessee has landed seven commitments since this dead period started, and some teams haven't landed anybody, so I think they are benefiting from the work they did before all this stuff started."