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Tennessee coach Josh Heupel and his staff scored a commitment from another top target in this 2024 cycle on Monday when Sugar Land (Texas) Fort Bend Christian Academy Top247 offensive tackle Bennett Warren announced his verbal to the Vols.
Tabbed by 247Sports’s as the No. 5 offensive tackle and No. 82 prospect overall, the 6-foot-7 1/2, 330-pound Warren chose the Vols over his other finalists in Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
“It’s that environment, that coaching staff, no other place like it,” Warren told 247Sports. All four of his finalists received official visits in June with Tennessee getting the last trip the weekend of June 23.
“Definitely the family environment they have in general. It wasn’t just the coaches there, it’s their whole families, all the kids, their wives, they all come around and they enjoy being together and so do the kids on the team. I feel like that’s a major part of it that they have going over there. They’re having a whole lot of fun over there and they’re definitely working.”
Warren saw that this past fall as the Vols won 11 games for the first time since 2001 capped by an Orange Bowl victory.
“I think it definitely sets the bar high,” Warren said of the future. “I think there’s going to be a lot of teams gunning for Tennessee in the next few years but there is nothing that can beat hard work and commitment to the game.
“Coach Heupel is definitely one of those coaches that’s got me fired up to be there. He’s an awesome guy to talk to. He’s very enthusiastic about what he does. He obviously enjoys being at Tennessee. He’s there to win. He wants to have the best team in the SEC. I definitely want to be part of that.”
With Warren in the fold, Tennessee rises two spots to No. 8 in the 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings. Offensive line coach Glen Elarbee was the lead recruiter for Warren who joins a talented offensive line haul that also boasts Max Anderson, William Satterwhite, Gage Ginther and Jesse Perry.
“Seeing what he did with Darnell Wright in two years, I think if he had four years with me and I try to learn as much as possible I can end up being a pretty good prospect coming out of college as well,” Warren said. Wright was a first round pick and 10th overall selection in the latest NFL Draft.
The environment was what Warren was looking for.
“The city of Knoxville I really enjoyed,” he said. “It feels like a college town. It’s not too big but its not too small for me. I like that area, I like the group of commits. The opportunity to play in the SEC too definitely.”
247Sports National Analyst and Lone Star State native Gabe Brooks likes this pickup for the Vols.
“Enormous offensive tackle prospect with elite height and length,” Brooks wrote in his evaluation. “Legitimately 6-foot-7+ with a wingspan beyond 7 feet. Ready-to-play mass but wears the bulk fairly well. Plays with encouraging movement ability relative to immense size. Shows lateral range and more light-footed locomotion than you’d expect for a tackle of his dimensions. Displays effective kick slide in pass protection. Swallows up smaller, overmatched rushers. Forceful once engaged. Gets off the line well in the running game. Capable of climbing to the second level on schedule and has flashed some power in his hands in that capacity. Possesses the desired three-sport athletic profile with basketball and limited throws context under his belt.
“Gifted tackle prospect with uncommon physical tools. Possesses the frame and functional athleticism to become a high-level protector who can man the left side or dominate on the right. Projects to the high-major level with positive markers in size, on-field context, and multi-sport evidence that suggest a very high ceiling that could lead to serious NFL Draft candidacy.”