Tyree Johnson had a busy weekend.
Johnson, a defensive end from St. John’s College High School (Washington, D.C.) was in Knoxville, Tenn., for the Vols’ Orange and White Game on Saturday, then he returned closer to home for Nike’s “The Opening” regional camp in the nation’s capital.
However, Johnson’s short time in East Tennessee made an impression.
“Right after the spring game, I had to get back,” the 6-foot-3, 247-pound prospect said. “It was awesome. I loved it. (Tennessee tight end signee and teammate) Devante Brooks was down there. I have a pretty good relationship with them (Tennessee’s coaches). They treat me like a priority, so I’m really looking into it.”
Saturday’s visit to Tennessee was the first for Johnson, who said he left impressed with the overall feel the environment offered.
“The campus, the atmosphere, I like it,” he said. “I love it down there. That’s a top school for me.”
Johnson said he wasn’t ready to name any leaders among his suitors, but the Vols, Texas A&M and Maryland have made a strong push. Johnson also made a recent visit to College Station, Texas, to check out the Aggies.
“They treated me like I was one of their own,” Johnson said. “I just loved everything about it, the atmosphere, the game. It was awesome.”
Johnson said he’s planning another visit to Texas A&M in June. He said the Aggies, Vols and Maryland are all expected to receive official visits this fall.
Johnson is primarily being recruited to Tennessee by defensive line coach Steve Stripling. However, the Vols are utilizing a team approach to land Johnson.
“I’ve got like five guys recruiting me from down there,” Johnson said. “I really like that.”
Friends, atmosphere and a connection with the coaches are all important in Johnson’s decision. But so is early playing time.
“I’m hungry, so I’m trying to start as soon as I come in,” he said. “I’m going to work hard for it. I’m a very hard worker.”
Playing in the SEC is also important.
“That matters most definitely,” he said. “The SEC is the best competition there is. I feel like if I can play in the SEC, I can play anywhere. I can play in the NFL. The transition would be easy for me.”
Johnson is the No. 35 weakside defensive end in the nation, and the No. 4-rated prospect in Washington, D.C., per the 247Sports composite rankings.
Corey Masisak contributed to this report