Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss Tennessee commit Dorian Gerald and his visit to South Carolina.
South Carolina visit for Gerald
Tennessee defensive end commit Dorian Gerald took perhaps his most important official visit of his recruitment. The junior college prospect has toyed with the idea of flipping to South Carolina for a while. He finally made the trip to Columbia, S.C., this past weekend.
What a game to make an official visit to with South Carolina defeating Arkansas 48-22. Gerald came away very impressed with Williams-Brice Stadium.
“It blew my mind. … It changed my outlook on the University of South Carolina,” Gerald told Hale McGranahan of SEC Country after the game. “You always hear about Williams-Brice being a loud stadium. I didn’t realize it was that loud. The fan support is amazing. It’s just crazy.
“I haven’t been to a lot of games growing up, but I’m sure there aren’t many that are going to top that one. It was a very loud environment. It’s a football environment. That’s what you want to be in.”
The 3-star defensive end plays for College of the Canyons (Calif.) but is from Florence, S.C. Staying close to his family will factor into his final decision.
“It’s always great to be home. When I went to South Carolina, it was amazing,” Gerald said. “It really gave me an insight on how it is to play for the University of South Carolina. … I got first-class treatment. It was really nice. It really did change my thoughts about USC.”
How much Gerald’s family liked the trip will go a long way in determining the chances he flips. His family made a trip to Knoxville, Tenn., in June that helped secure a commitment to the Vols in July.
Gerald spoke with most of the South Carolina coaching staff on the visit, including coach Will Muschamp.
“Nothing has changed,” Gerald said of his conversation with the head coach. “I’m still one of their real high priorities for them. He said I could come in and make plays, and that’s what they want me to do still.”
Tennessee hot seat talk
It is no secret Tennessee coach Butch Jones’ job security has come into question this season. The part of the fan base that wants Jones gone became even louder after the 41-0 loss to Georgia on Sept. 30.
Gerald still seems firmly supportive of the coaching staff who recruited him. He said he plans to be smart if things take a negative turn with Jones in Knoxville.
“It’s all just talk right now,” Gerald said, during an interview with Phil Kornblut last Thursday. “I’m the same way I’ve always been. I’ve been a firm commit, but I’m no dummy. There’s not one recruit in the world that’s shut everything 100 percent down. I hope Coach Jones isn’t gone. I love that staff, but I’d rather be prepared than not be prepared and scrambling.
Being just a little bit older than the high schoolers in the same position might give Gerald a tad more maturity on the issue. He sounds like someone who knows this will be one of the biggest decisions in his life.
“I’m smart about what I’m doing,” Gerald said. “I know I’ve worked too hard to be scrambling and end up with nothing. I’m taking my visits, not just because of Coach Jones. I’ve been saying this, I won’t get an opportunity like this ever again in my life, so it has nothing to do with Coach Jones.
“I still believe in Coach Jones. I believe in those guys and I believe things are going to turn around.”
Not running when things are bad
Some Tennessee fans took to Twitter on Sunday claiming Gerald is already halfway out the door.
Gerald came back with a pretty positive Tennessee response.
Why? Cause things not looking good? Everybody doesn't run when things are bad. Some fight and try to be the change. https://t.co/rluHlB7xha
— Dorian Gerald (@TopNotchDG) October 8, 2017
Trying to “be the change” is some language I expect a few more Tennessee recruits will start to use. The coaching staff has to find a way to make the situation the Class of 2018 is coming into better.
Telling the prospects they can “be the change” and be the ones to finally win the SEC East is a pretty good idea.
Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news here.