New Vols defensive coordinator Bob Shoop just landed his biggest recruit and it’s not an 18 year old kid who has five stars by his name. Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin announced that he will return to Knoxville for his senior season. He made the announcement on Twitter earlier today.

With Reeves-Maybin coming back the Vols should have one of the top defenses in the country. If Cam Sutton returns as well Tennessee could be the sexy pick to win the SEC East next year. Last season the Vols gave Alabama all they wanted on the road and even led the Tide late in the fourth quarter. In 2016 UT gets Bama in Knoxville and expectations will be high after six straight wins to end the year and a blowout bowl win over Nortwestern on New Year’s Day.


Reeves-Maybin was thought to be a second or third round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft if he came out. The Vol linebacker had a good year and had monster games against the best competition. Against Oklahoma he had 21 tackles and had 11 against Alabama. Reeves-Maybin requested his draft grade from the NFL in December and probably wanted to come back to be a part of a potentially big season for the Vols and work his way into a first round pick with a big 2016 season. Should Tennessee live up to expectation it’s reasonable to believe that he could be picked a first round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

It was thought that Reeves-Maybin was one of the top ten linebackers in the 2016 NFL Draft if he chose to come out. His draft stock should only go up with another year of playing in the SEC under his belt.

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