published Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Safety RaShaan Gaulden pledges to Vols

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee's big football recruiting weekend resulted in another commitment Saturday, the fifth of the week for the Volunteers and first-year coach Butch Jones.

Safety RaShaan Gaulden, from Independence High School at Thompson's Station near Nashville, announced his pledge to Tennessee while visiting Knoxville. He is the Vols' fifth in-state commitment and the fourth defensive back in the 2014 class. Gaulden's teammate, athlete Vic Wharton, was the first commitment in Tennessee's class, which now has 23 pledges.

According to, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder is a four-star prospect, the sixth-ranked player in the state and a top-250 national recruit. As a sophomore at Brentwood Academy in 2011, Gaulden finished with more than 70 tackles and intercepted four passes.

Despite sitting out last season following his transfer to Independence, he has scholarship offers from South Carolina, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Washington, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Duke.

Knoxville's Todd Kelly and Georgia's Cortez McDowell are the other safeties committed to Tennessee, and Gaulden could play cornerback in college. Washington, D.C., cornerback D'Andre Payne is the other defensive back in the class.

The Vols have done well in what they're calling "Foundation Week," which has resulted in commitments from McDowell, junior college receiver Eric Lauderdale and offensive lineman Ray Raulerson.

Contact Patrick Brown at or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at

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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