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Tennessee’s new secondary coach Charlton Warren hit the recruiting trail Tuesday, meeting with a trio of cornerback commits just days after their former position coach Willie Martinez was fired.
Warren visited with 3-stars Cheyenne Labruzza, Terrell Bailey and Shawn Shamburger, with plans to see Theo Jackson and Maleik Gray on Thursday.
While the Vols corner commits were curious to meet their new coach, the consensus takeaway from those visits was an emoji filled explosion: ??????
Some first impression buzz words on Warren?
Warren, as well as head coach Butch Jones, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and running backs coach Robert Gillespie, went in-home with Bailey and Labruzza on Tuesday night.
Bailey told SEC Country the visit was great, while Labruzza called it an “excellent first impression.”
“He’s very passionate about football,” Labruzza explained.
“You can tell when you ask questions. When you ask questions with coach Warren, you can tell how deep he gets into the criteria, his expectations. He’s passionate, high intensity.”
Warren, along with Shoop, met with Shamburger on Wednesday, and the Georgia corner reiterated a similar theme as Labruzza, touting Warren’s confidence and coaching style.
“There’s really nothing not to like about him. He has a swagger. He has a winning mentality,” Shamburger told SEC Country.
“They seem to want to implement a lot of pieces in the secondary. I feel like I can fit that role.”
Tennessee’s cornerback commits felt comfortable immediately with Warren, reaffirming their decisions despite losing a coach they were formally close with.
Labruzza admitted he was “caught off guard” by Martinez’s firing, but he respected Jones’ honesty about the situation.
“We had a good relationship with each other,” Labruzza said of Martinez.
“So when you hear that he’s fired from the staff, of course I was surprised. When you have a good relationship with somebody, you hate to see them go, but I trust coach Jones 100 percent.
“He told me that this is a step forward to take our program to another level. I’m very excited. The positive vibes with coach Warren. I love coach Warren. I think he’s a great coach and I’m excited to be coached by him.”
Another ease for Labruzza was his relationship with Shoop, as the two have developed a bond in the last six months. Labruzza believes Shoop and Warren will be a great pair because they’re both “all business.”
“I’ve gotten really close with coach Shoop,” he said.
“He’s another guy who is very passionate about football. When I talk to him, it’s all business. He lays everything out for me. Tells me what he expects, what he wants and how he sees me being used at the defense at Tennessee. It’s all business and that’s what I like.
Both Labruzza and Shamburger had questions for Warren, mainly about his style, techniques and opportunity.
They both heard the answers they were looking for.
“It was great meeting coach. I feel he has our best interest in mind,” Shamburger said.
“I have equal opportunity as the guys there to come in and play because of the coaching change, so I like him.”
Both corners will take their official visits to Tennessee this weekend. Shamburger, who committed to the Vols in November, has a visit planned to Georgia the final weekend in January, but the 3-star corner is solid to Tennessee and doesn’t currently hold an offer from the Bulldogs.
Labruzza reaffirmed his commitment and won’t take any more trips — to LSU or elsewhere.
“This is a business trip,” he said of his upcoming OV to Tennessee.
“I’m going to go up there and strengthen my bond with coach Warren. We’re just going up there to finalize everything. Hang out with the coaches and start looking forward to reporting day.
“I’m all UT. I’m all Vol.”
More key visits
After seeing Labruzza and Bailey on Tuesday, Jones and Gillespie stayed in Louisiana and visited with tailbacks Trey Coleman and Travis Etienne on Wednesday evening.
Coleman, who took his official visit to Tennessee last weekend, is a longtime Vols commit, while Etienne is one of UT’s top remaining targets.
— Travis Etienne Jr⁶? (@swaggy_t1) January 19, 2017
The 4-star from Jennings (La.) visited Knoxville for the first time last weekend, and he has trips scheduled to Clemson (Jan. 20) and LSU (Jan. 27) upcoming. The Vols are in the hunt, but sources tell SEC Country that LSU remains confident in keeping the in-state tailback at home.
As mentioned above, Jones, Warren and others will visit with safety commits Theo Jackson and Maleik Gray on Thursday. Jackson is hard commit, while Gray is likely to stick wth Tennessee but could visit Florida State this weekend.
While in Nashville, Tennessee coaches will also see 4-star tailback Ty Chandler. The U.S. Army All-American took his official visit to Tennessee last weekend with Gray, Chandler, Coleman and others.
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