“It was wonderful,” DeBose told BlackAndGoldIllustrated.com of his official visit this weekend. “It was great. I really enjoyed it. It was way better than expected. I’m speechless. Words can’t even describe. Me and my family really enjoyed it.”
What stood out?
“It being an SEC school of course it’s going to have that flashy stuff to it, all that eye-candy stuff, but what caught my eye was the coaching staff and the players,” DeBose said. “The coaching staff was just cool. They were all so easy to talk to. They were completely honest with me the whole trip. They kept it real with me. They’re real goofy and silly. They’re just a bunch of big kids. They’re just so easy to talk to. They made me comfortable, from the head coach, (Barry) Odom, to the assistants, all of them. They’re just real cool and laid-back people. The players, too.”
The only thing missing from the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder’s official visit was a chance to meet with new Tigers defensive line coach Brick Haley.
Haley, whose hiring was announced on Friday, won’t be on campus until this week. That’s what DeBose said defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross told him. Cross, Barry Odom and Haley are expected to visit DeBose when they are allowed to at the conclusion of the dead period that starts tomorrow.
“I need to get to know Coach Haley,” DeBose said. “I spent a lot of time with everybody and all the coaches this weekend except him, so they said as soon as the dead period is up they’re coming down here to holler at me.”
Other schools have been coming at DeBose quite a bit since his decommitment from Appalachian State in mid October.
Following his visit to Missouri, the defensive end said he wants to narrow down his list of potential schools and take as many official visits as he feels like needs to before making a decision.
“Over these next three, four weeks me and my parents, we’re going to sit down and see what’s really out there,” he said. “I may cancel out some schools. I may move some schools around or, to be honest, I may just cancel maybe two or three of them and just go on one more and leave it at that. We have to talk to see how everybody’s feeling, how I’m feeling.
“I want to talk to the coaches one more time and just go from there. It’s a couple schools, it’s about five or six schools, I’m looking into. But I honestly want to shorten it. By Signing Day I want to have a minimum of two or three. I don’t want to go into Signing Day with a top five, top six, top seven. I’m going to be reasonable with it, try to shorten it down to two or three. I’m probably going to take some officials. I don’t know if I’m going to take all of them. I don’t know if I’m going to take four more. But I’m going to take some.”
After those two, there’s another group of schools he’s still considering.
“Tennessee is really sticking around right now,” DeBose said. “They talk to me probably two or three times, at the minimum, a week. Rutgers is still here. Western Michigan is still here. There’s about five or six schools still sticking around. I’m going to talk it over with my parents but I know for sure Pitt and Illinois I’m going to take those.”
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