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. Today, we discuss why 4-star safety Brendon Harris chose the Vols and which targets he hopes to bring with him.
CHATTANOOGA, TENN. — Last week became a great one for Tennessee on the recruiting trail when must-have, 4-star safety prospect Brendon Harris announced his commitment to the Vols on Friday.
Nobody was happier to land the state’s top defensive back than Charlton Warren, Harris’ future position coach.
“He kept telling me, ‘We’re waiting on you. We’re waiting on you,’” Harris told SEC Country. “I feel like when I actually made the decision, it was a big relief for him. And I feel happy with him, I built a very good relationship with him. I feel like as of right now, I can go to him about anything and I know when I get there the relationship is going to get even stronger.”
The relationship forged between Warren and Harris went a long way in landing the nation’s No. 16 safety and No. 151 overall player in the Class of 2018.
“I really like coach Warren,” Harris said. “I actually went to a practice and got to see how he teaches the DBs. He’s a real strict guy, he’s down with the fundamentals. You may make a big play but if you didn’t do it using the fundamentals then he’s going to crack down on that and he’s a real energetic guy and I feel like he cares about his players.”
However, it was hardly the only reason.
Tennessee was able to beat out defending national champion Clemson, the school that finished second for Harris’ services and got his final visit on April 29. Ultimately, that wasn’t enough to beat what Tennessee had to offer.
“I actually just visited all of the schools that I wanted to see, talked to all the coaches and I just feel like with Tennessee, I built a relationship that needed to be established, I visited, saw what I needed to see, I felt like it was just time to make the decision,” Harris said.
Tennessee put together a tactful and aggressive recruiting pitch toward Harris that included a lot of interaction with Warren, as well as a thorough development plan for both his football career and his academics and a well-resonating message that centered on defending his home turf.
And while all of that was nice, there wasn’t anything quite like the chance for Harris to stay home.
“Being at Tennessee, I just felt like I was at home,” Harris said. “I know a lot of people up there. I established relationships with some of the commits already so I’m really good friends with them. It’ll be convenient for my family to come to the games and stuff. It just felt like the right thing to do.”
It also helped that 3-star Milledgeville, Ga. receiver Jatavious Harris served valiantly in the role of Twitter recruiter, constantly showing Harris love on social media in a way that Harris has become known for since he committed to the Vols last month.
“I really like him,” Harris said. “He’s a really energetic guy. He stayed on me, talked to me constantly. I like that because it let me know that they really think I can play and they really want me to come and help them. He’s been a really good friend in this process.”
“Who’s next?” isn’t so much the question as “who does Harris hope is next?” but his answer is one that will have a lot of Vols fans daydreaming.
At the top of Harris’ wish list is top in-state running back Master Teague III, a 3-star product out of Murfreesboro, Tenn. that likely tops the wish list of a few Vols’ commits and coaches.
Teague’s decision is expected to come soon, with him picking between Georgia, Auburn and Tennessee.
Behind Teague, Harris knows that in order for him to hold things down in the secondary, he’s going to need a pass rush that can get to the quarterback and disrupt his timing. And who better to do that than 4-star defensive tackles Greg Emerson and D’Andre Litaker, the top two uncommitted players in Tennessee for the Class of 2018?
“I would like to see D’Andre Litaker and Greg Emerson because, you know, they make a big impact,” Harris said. “They get in the backfield, put some pressure on the quarterback, make him throw the ball faster. Less accurate pass, that’s an interception for me.”
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