All three have offers from the Vols and are in the state’s top 20 for college football prospects, according to the 247Sports Composite.
McDonald received his offer from Tennessee last week after Whitehaven (5-1) shut out Cordova in front of Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt. French and Eason already had offers.
As the Vols and other programs continue their pursuit of the three, here’s a look at what each can bring to the table on the college level.
Ht: 6-2. Wt: 250
Position: Middle linebacker
Ranking: No. 11 in Tennessee
Recruiting status: Uncommitted. Focusing on Tennessee and Arkansas.
Analysis: Eason brings a blend of size, speed, and football smarts to the middle linebacker position. At 250 pounds, he is the biggest and strongest of the trio. He also has displayed the speed to chase running backs down and the awareness to call audibles for the Whitehaven defense.
“The biggest thing is that he’s a true Mike linebacker. He’s what they look for in a middle linebacker. Size speed, football IQ. He’s explosive and he can run. He’s a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker,” Whitehaven coach Rodney Saulsberry said.
Ht: 6-2. Wt: 240
Position: Outside linebacker/middle linebacker
Ranking: No. 10 in Tennessee
Recruiting status: Committed to Arkansas
Analysis: French, last year’s defensive player of the year for Region 8-6A, primarily plays in the back of Whitehaven’s 5-2 front with Eason. Saulsberry said that he can see French fitting in as a middle or weakside linebacker in college.
“He has the flexibility to play either one. That’s what I like about him. But the biggest thing about him is that he is very cerebral. He studies the game,” Saulsberry said.
“Martavius is going to be the kind of guy that’s going to fit in your zone and read it so well. He drops deep enough to cause problems on those deep pass routes because of his range and natural instincts in pass coverage. He has a tremendous upside in the pass game as well as on blitzes,” Harmon said.
Ht: 6-2. Wt: 220
Position: Outside linebacker/Strong safety
Ranking: No. 20 in Tennessee
Recruiting status: Committed to Mississippi State
Analysis: McDonald is a versatile defender who can line up at a number of positions. He is primarily being recruited at outside linebacker, but has the quickness and footwork to play defensive back.
“Just an all-around athlete. He can play anywhere and it allows us to do so many things on defense because he can play anywhere at any time. His versatility just lends itself well to being a productive football player,” Saulsberry said. “He’s the size to play strong safety now but he may grow into being a Will linebacker. A Sam or Will linebacker. But he can stay where he is and be a prototypical strong safety.”
Eason, French and McDonald have been playing together since middle school and already established a chemistry with one another. Plus, their skill sets are different enough that they can complement each other when played together. They haven’t committed to the idea of playing together in college but they are considering it.