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Tennessee Football: Sidney Walton commit proves Vols still scouting DBs early

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He may have Tennessee Football in much better position than it was three years ago, and the Vols may be all in on 2024. However, Josh Heupel’s issues in the secondary still appear to require him to identify defensive backs early on the recruiting trail.

That’s the only thing that could explain the commitment of 2025 Alabama defensive back Sidney Walton. The 6’1″ 187-pound three-star out of Moody High School in St. Clair County, Ala., just outside of Birmingham, announced his commitment to the Vols Thursday with a video on Twitter.

What stands out about this commitment is that Walton was being targeted mostly by Group of Five and even FCS schools. UT was far and away the most high-profile program targeting him, and while that may be a concern, it could be a positive.

Are the Vols just identifying defensive backs early? That’s probably still the case given how Heupel’s system is not one that’s going to make defensive backs look great, at least right now. As a result, he has to turn to Tim Banks and Willie Martinez to find players who are overlooked and scout them early.

That appears to be exactly what Walton is, and with the transition of the Alabama Crimson Tide under Kalen DeBoer, this was the perfect time to land somebody like him. He definitely has the size to play in an SEC secondary.

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A look at his highlight reel, which you can see by clicking here, shows that while he’s listed as a safety, he’s able to stick with wideouts going over the middle, and he’s also willing to hit. Competition is fierce enough in Birmingham that he’s clearly been tested as well.

Taking that into account, he could be a guy who explodes onto the scene, so Tennessee Football did well getting him early. UT now has eight players committed for 2025 and three defensive backs, so it’s clear where Heupel is putting his focus for next year.

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