Hailing from a Mississippi suburb of Memphis, defensive back John Slaughter III committed to Tennessee football at the end of June. Here are five things to know about the prospect.
Where Slaughter ranks
Slaughter is a three-star prospect across the board.
247Sports puts Slaughter as the No. 60 safety in his class and the No. 10 prospect from Mississippi.
ON3 ranks Slaughter as the No. 39 safety in his class and the No. 10 prospect from Mississippi.
Rivals has Slaughter as the No. 42 safety in his class and the No. 14 prospect from Mississippi.
Tennessee football over who?
Slaughter verbally committed to Tennessee football in June following an official visit.
The safety was extended a scholarship offer from the Vols in June of 2021. He visited Knoxville for the Georgia game a season ago and camped with the Vols several times since then.
Slaughter chose Tennessee over Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Memphis, among others.
The numbers don’t lie. Slaughter is a ball-hawk.
On top of helping to lead Southaven High School in DeSoto County, Miss., to an undefeated season, the safety finished the year with 30 tackles and six interceptions. He ran two interceptions back for touchdowns and had a pair of forced fumbles and fumble recoveries.
Slaughter also had three receiving touchdowns for Southaven’s offense.
For his great season on the defensive side of the ball, Slaughter was named Mississippi 6A player of the year.
Tennessee football needs secondary help
Anyone who watched Tennessee football this year can tell you the Vols’ struggles on defense, particularly in the secondary.
No performance may have been worse than Tennessee’s defense against South Carolina. The Vols gave up 438 receiving yards and six touchdowns, and the loss cost them a shot at the College Football Playoffs.
The Vols rank No. 127 out of 131 teams in passing defense.
UT is clearly hoping Slaughter can help Tennessee find the solution to its defensive woes.
Something the world could use more of is respectful people, and Slaughter adds to that.
Slaughter’s defensive coordinator Eddie Stevenson picked up on Slaughter’s respectfulness immediately.
“He’s, ‘Yes sir’ and ‘No sir,’ and always been that way,” Stevenson told The Commercial Appeal. “That was one of the things that helped distinguish and differentiate him from the other students. They ain’t being raised like that anymore.”
Slaughter won’t cause any problems for Josh Heupel and his staff in the Tennessee football locker room – one that had rumored turmoil this season.
Note: This is part of a series of articles looking at prospects who make up the Vols’ 2023 recruiting class leading up to the early signing period.