'Pretty good dude'

At least one of the young men attending Tennessee's recent Junior Day definitely will not be signing with the Vols in February.

It's not that Tray Watkins isn't impressed with the football program; it's just that he isn't going to college for another two years. He'll be part of the recruiting class of 2013, not the class of 2012.

Currently a sophomore at Chase High School in Forest City, N.C., Tray decided to tag along on the visit to Knoxville with his older brother, who happens to be one of The South's top junior prospects.

"Tray wasn't there as a prospect; he just decided to attend the camp with Carlos, who is getting recruited by just about everybody in the country," Chase High head coach Daniel Bailey said.

The younger of the Watkins brothers projects to be a big-time prospect in another year, though. He was one of only two sophomores to start last season for Chase High, the same school that sent Keyon Whiteside to Tennessee in the late 1990s.

"Tray is 6-2 and about 220 pounds, and he starts at defensive end for us," Bailey said. "He also split time at tight end and receiver."

Although the coach said Tray could be "a receiving tight end or a possession receiver," he believes he's best suited to defense.

"I can see him on the collegiate level as a defensive end," Bailey noted. "He's put on 10 pounds since early January, and he's getting stronger in the weight room. His lateral speed and change of direction are pretty good, and he seems to have a good nose for the football.

"He's young and continuing to grow. Over the next two years he's going to really develop into a real solid defensive end. Right now he gets the ball run at him a lot because his brother's playing on the other side."

Although Tray Watkins wasn't visiting UT as a prospect, he came away impressed with the campus and the program.

"Tray really enjoyed himself, I can tell you that," Bailey said.

Watkins' post-visit comments suggested as much.

"I thought it would be a good school," he said, "but I didn't know it was going to be like this."

Asked what he enjoyed most about his visit, Watkins replied, "Mostly the experience. The stadium was very nice. The equipment in the new weight room and the new facilities ... I Iiked that a lot."

After describing head coach Derek Dooley as "a pretty good dude," Watkins noted that Vol coaches strongly emphasized academics.

"They preached about study hall, working with us and stuff," he said. "It was pretty good."

Watkins said he met with several Tennessee players during his stay, including one group he found especially interesting.

"I think they call it Player Panel, where you get to ask them questions and they'll tell you the answers," he said.

Asked about the topics covered by the panel, Watkins replied, "Girls and stuff, basically.... They also talked about what it feels like to get ready for a game, the experience and all of that stuff."

Although only a sophomore, Watkins says he already has a scholarship offer from Clemson. Asked if he has an offer from Tennessee yet, he smiled.

"Nah," he said, "But they're looking at me."


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