Baylor School offensive lineman Brycen Sanders, who revealed his nonbinding commitment this week to Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss Rebels, is the seventh Chattanooga-area football player in the last 15 years to be pegged among the state's top-10 prospects by 247Sports.com.
Sanders is currently ranked fourth in Tennessee for the 2023 signing cycle and has the opportunity to buck a recent trend of elite area prospects who wound up transferring in college, battling injuries or both. A look back at how those recruits fared:
Jay Hardy (2020)
The McCallie School defensive tackle was the state's No. 3 prospect and picked Auburn over Tennessee in the recruiting process. Hardy played in one game as a freshman, the Citrus Bowl loss to Northwestern that followed the firing of Gus Malzahn, and entered the NCAA transfer portal on May 3, 2021. He committed to Liberty University in late July and did not record any statistics last season for the Flames.
Brendon Harris (2018)
The Baylor safety was the state's No. 10 prospect and had committed to Tennessee before the implosion of the Butch Jones era, which led to his switching to Vanderbilt. In 28 career games with the Commodores that spanned the 2019-21 seasons, Harris accumulated 127 tackles, but he entered the transfer portal mere days after last November's 45-21 loss at Tennessee. In April, Harris announced that he would use his fifth season of eligibility at Wake Forest.
Nygel Edmonds (2016)
The McCallie cornerback was the state's No. 10 prospect and shifted his commitment from Stanford to California before signing with the Bears. Edmonds redshirted in 2016 and never played for Cal before retiring from football.
Austin Sanders (2013)
The Bradley Central offensive tackle was the state's No. 10 prospect and signed with Tennessee, where he redshirted as a freshman. Sanders played in five games as a backup left guard in 2014 but then missed the 2015 season with a torn biceps in August camp. His final season in 2016 contained 11 games as primarily a punt protector.
Chad Voytik (2012)
The Cleveland High quarterback was the state's No. 2 prospect and signed with Pittsburgh, where he played from 2013-15 before finishing in 2016 at Arkansas State. Voytik completed 230 of 380 attempts (60.5%) during his college career for 2,824 yards with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Jacques Smith (2010)
The Ooltewah defensive end was the state's top-ranked recruit and had an instant impact at Tennessee, playing all 13 games and collecting 24 tackles and five tackles for loss to earn a spot on the Freshman All-SEC team. Smith amassed 35 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore and had 33 tackles and seven tackles for loss as a junior. He missed the first month of his senior season due to a broken thumb but managed to produce 28 tackles and his first career interception.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com.