Many have speculated that West Virginia commit Nathan Niehaus will flip to Tennessee during his visit this weekend. After all, the Vols have plenty to offer and have shown strong, recent interest in the offensive lineman from Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio) High School.
A verbal pledge could be imminent, right? Perhaps not.
“I’d say it’s pretty unlikely that it would be this weekend,” the 6-foot-6, 250-pound prospect said. “If it were to happen, I’d say it wouldn’t be too long from now but I just want to back off kind of and see what my options are. I have quite a bit of options. I just want to keep an open mind on everything to see what the best fit is for me. It’s not just about football. It’s about all aspects of it.”
Niehaus will visit Tennessee this weekend hoping to learn more about the university, the football program and Knoxville.
“I’ve never seen campus or anything,” the 3-star prospect said. “I just want to get to know the coaches a lot better and get to know some of the players.”
The Vols have been in the trail position for Niehaus since they started to pursue him heavily earlier this month. Niehaus committed to West Virginia in July, and that pledge could be tough to overcome.
“I wouldn’t have committed there unless I absolutely felt like I was going to go there…but as the process goes on, that’s what happens in life, things change,” Niehaus said.
With Tennessee in pursuit, things have certainly been ratcheted up with just about eight weeks until National Signing Day.
“Just a little bit,” Niehaus said. “They haven’t been on my back about it (a commitment) but this close to signing day, anything would be a lot of pressure. I’ve been used to it. I’ve been dealing with it for a while.
“One of the reasons I committed early was just to take some pressure off so I could just focus on our season. It went pretty well but now I’m back in the swing of things with this recruiting stuff.”
Tennessee isn’t the only new school to come calling recently. Ohio State sent a coach to visit with Niehaus on Friday before he departed for Knoxville. Clearly, Niehaus needs to gain some weight to succeed in college. However, if he does, he could be a perfect offensive tackle in a spread system that likes to keep the offensive linemen moving, like the ones employed by Tennessee and Ohio State. Niehaus’ mobility has been a consistent topic of conversation with recruiters.
“Just about every coach,” Niehaus said. “They usually like the frame and how well I can move and gain weight every year. It’s been a pattern of about 30 pounds (gained) every year in high school. In college, it will probably be a lot more.
“I think what coaches like the most is no matter how much I’m gaining, it doesn’t affect the whole mobility of how I can move…I think that’s one of the big pluses that coaches like and that’s what they look to get from me.”
That athleticism is exactly what the Vols want from Niehaus. They just may have to wait on that commitment until after his weekend visit.