Tennessee commitment Tee Higgins doesn’t mind a challenge. That has nothing to do with his play on the football field.
The four-star junior receiver from Oak Ridge (Tenn.) High has targeted a number of prospects that he would like to join him as future Volunteers. The two at the top of the list may be two of the toughest to convince to sign with Tennessee.
Athlete Mecole Hardman from Elberton (Ga.) has shown interest in Tennessee but the in-state Bulldogs will be tough to overcome. Junior receiver Amari Rodgers from Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic has been committed to Southern California’s 2017 class since June.
Higgins, who is the No. 1 player in the state and committed to Tennessee’s 2017 class in September, is trying to help recruit both of the highly-touted prospects.
“I’ll probably get some nice players to come in,” Higgins said slyly. “I just try.”
Higgins being outspoken about anything is a bit surprising for Oak Ridge head coach Joe Gaddis.
“Around here, he’s pretty quiet,” Gaddis said. “He might be doing that but he’s a quiet, kind of low-key kid. He is a leader just because of the way he works, but he doesn’t say a lot around here.”
While Higgins is recruiting other prospects, he’s also still being recruited. He’s just a junior, so college coaches aren’t backing off.
“They keep calling,” Higgins said. “I talk to Clemson. I talk to a lot of schools. I don’t say much. We just have nice, little conversations.”
When he’s not recruiting, Higgins is intent on improving his game. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound prospect knows he still has room to grow.
“I’ve gotten faster since last year,” said Higgins, who clocked a 4.56-second 40-yard dash during the offseason. “I’ve been getting better at seeing double coverages.”
Higgins will also need to get bigger. That’s been tough to do since he plays basketball immediately after football season. Then, after spring football practice, he participates in summer league basketball.
“He doesn’t have as much time as you would like for him to have in the weight room,” Gaddis said. “Physically, he can get stronger. That won’t be a problem once he gets to college.”
That’s about the only knock Gaddis has on Higgins’ game.
“I’ve coached football for 41 years and he’s just one of those guys,” Gaddis said. “As far as wide receiver is concerned, he represents the total package. He can run. he can jump. He’s got great hands. He’s runs great routes. He’s an outstanding blocker. He has the speed and the athletic ability to turn a 3-yard hitch route into a 90-yard touchdown.
“He’s really a wide receiver that you’re hard pressed to find any weaknesses and he continues to work hard in all the phases of his game. He’s also an outstanding defensive back, an outstanding punt returner and he’s a great kid.”
And, perhaps, a decent recruiter.