published Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Tight end Meredith switches from Heels to Vols

KNOXVILLE -- The final month of football recruiting season has yet to arrive, but Tennessee continues to fill its 2012 class.

The Volunteers got public commitment No. 21 on Saturday when tight end Justin Meredith switched his pledge from North Carolina. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, S.C., chose the Tar Heels in June, but the school's firing of coach Butch Davis led Meredith to look around. North Carolina hired Larry Fedora from Southern Mississippi earlier this week after interim coach Everett Withers led the Heels to a 7-5 record and the Independence Bowl.

Attempts to reach UT's newest commitment were unsuccessful. Meredith is playing in the Shrine Bowl on Dec. 17, an all-star game of high school players from North and South Carolina.

Meredith officially visited Knoxville for the Vols' overtime win against Vanderbilt last month and took an unofficial visit for the Georgia game. Rivals.com rates him as a three-star prospect and the nation's No. 13 tight end. ESPN rates him as a four-star prospect, and Meredith will play in the Under Armour All-American game on Jan. 5 in Tampa, Fla.

"He can be a solid target in the passing game," ESPN's scouting report said. "He does not come across as a natural receiver who effortlessly plucks the ball, but he does have good hands and can extend and catch the ball away from his body.

"Meredith's overall game will not wow you and he needs work as a player and physically, but the kid can be productive and contribute. Blue-collar type player who can help a team if put into situations to play to his strengths."

The Vols relied on freshmen Cameron Clear and Brendan Downs as backups to Mychal Rivera this season for offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, who likes to use two-tight end sets. Meredith's expected arrival in January should add depth to a position where it's needed and help him get an early start in learning one of the more complex positions in UT's offense.

Meredith had scholarship offers from Auburn, Florida, Clemson, Notre Dame and South Carolina, among others.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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