KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Over the weekend, prized defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe made his first trip to Tennessee since ‘Orange Carpet Day’ in June.
The 4-star Hampton (Va.) standout is juggling more than two dozen offers, but Conliffe has narrowed his finalists down to Alabama, Penn State, Florida and Tennessee.
He liked what he saw on Rocky Top during his official visit.
“It was pretty much the same as last time,” Conliffe told SEC Country.
“I had a really good time. I loved it.”
With Tennessee hoping to shore up its defensive line, especially along the interior, Conliffe has quietly emerged as the Vols top target at tackle. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound prospect is ranked No. 303 overall and No. 16 nationally at his position. He labeled himself as “a run-stopper,” capable of playing multiple positions along the defensive line.
During his Tennessee trip, he enjoyed bowling and hanging out with sophomore defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, who served as his host over the weekend.
“It was pretty cool hanging out with him,” Conliffe said.
“He’s a really fun person to hang out with.”
My Family And I Loved our Time In Knoxville this Weekend ?✊?? Thank You @k_Mac_99
— Elijah Conliffe (@ElijahPrime) January 15, 2017
The Virginia defensive tackle is a man of few words, but Conliffe likes the opportunities and feel at Tennessee and holds the Vols in high regard because of “their consistency” in recruiting him.
“They’re always talking to me,” he said.
“Always staying in contact.”
He’s gotten to know defensive line coach Steve Stripling better in recent months, and he’s developed a bond with defensive line assistant coach Nate Ollie.
Conliffe said Tennessee’s message has been the same since Day 1, too: “I’m a really high priority. That they really want me. That they can see me in their future.”
The Vols are in good shape with the 4-star defensive tackle, but they’ll need to maintain their momentum for the next two weeks until he announces a decision on Jan. 31.
Conliffe once referred to Alabama as his leader, but for now, sources say the talented tackle is a backup option for the Tide, who simply don’t have enough room in their 2017 class.
Still, Conliffe said he will “probably” take an official visit to Alabama on Jan. 27.
Meanwhile, Penn State is still definitely in the picture and Conliffe is going on an exploratory trip to Florida this weekend after receiving an offer just after Christmas.
He’s never been to UF before, but has recently developed a bond with DL coach Chris Rumph.
“It’s a pretty good relationship we got going,” he said.
Conliffe is certainly intrigued about playing in the SEC, but ultimately, he said he’s going to pick his school based on one criteria.
“I’m looking for that feel. Comfort,” he said.
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