Sunseri makes connection with Santos

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Much speculation has been made about the commitment status of four-star linebacker Dalton Santos since the departure of both defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, but the speculation is likely all over.

New Tennessee defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Sal Sunseri got a chance to visit with Santos and his family Wednesday afternoon and all parties came away with a renewed relationship.

"The visit went great," Santos said. "The visit was awesome. Coach Sunseri is a great guy and I really liked him. He is a great guy that has a swagger about him. I am really excited to play for him."

And it wasn't just Dalton that came away impressed with the newby from Tennessee, Dalton's parents Albert and Vista Santos were impressed as well. "Love him," Albert Santos said of Sunseri. "He is awesome! We are lucky to have him." Both Sunseri and the Van High School (Tex.) product found some hard-hitting common ground from the second they collided.

"We are all about knocking peoples head off, we are both like that, so that was an instant connection between coach Sunseri and I," Santos said.

While Santos was not ready to say that he wouldn't look at a few other schools before the end of the recruiting process on National Signing Day (Feb. 1), he was ready to say that Tennessee still has his commitment firmly in hand.

"Right now I am a Vol and I am committed," Santos said. "I am 99.9 percent Vol right now. That is where my heart and I stand. I love Tennessee."

Before the hiring of Sunseri, Santos cited four-star defensive tackle commitment Danny O'Brien and current Volunteer linebackers Curt Maggitt and A.J. Johnson as top-notch recruiters for Derek Dooley during the time of uncertainty.

"They have done a tremendous job," Santos said. "Especially Danny (O'Brien), at one time I was recruiting him and it just came right back at me. He was recruiting me."

Santos confirmed that he will likely not get a chance to visit Tennessee before National Signing Day after canceling an unofficial visit on Jan. 13.


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