Bourque ready to battle with the big boys

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Davante' Bourque knows he has unfinished work.

"I have a few things I've been working on in particular," the Crowley, La., native told InsideTennessee, "but I feel like I'm big enough and strong enough to hang with these guys now."

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound tailback caught Tennessee's eye in the midst of a monster junior season in 2010. Bourque ran for 2,326 yards on 221 carries, while finding the end zone 40 times.

He originally verbally committed to Texas A&M, then the LSU Tigers, but after he decommitted, Tennessee began recruiting him heavily.

One of the keys to signing Bourque was the playing time up for grabs with the departure of Tauren Poole from the backfield. But perhaps the most influential person on his commitment was his recruiter, former Tennessee recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph. Joseph is from Louisiana, and he eventually lured Bourque to Knoxville after multiple in-home visits.

After pledging to the Vols in early 2012, Bourque was still heavily pursued by Miami (Fla.) and Illinois. He took a trip to South Beach a week after committing to play for Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, but he stuck with his original commitment despite speculation.

Bourque tripped up to Knoxville to see the Vols' spring game in April.

"I got to talk to (running backs) coach (Jay) Graham and the offensive coordinator (Jim Chaney)," said Bourque, Louisiana's 13th ranked player in the Class of 2012. "They told me I need to learn to keep the ball in my right hand because I'm always carrying it in my left hand. And they said that I need to learn to see the whole field better. I get too focused on one thing I want to do."

Many of the teams that pursued Bourque during the recruiting process looked at him as a utility player. He was asked to consider a move to wide receiver or even linebacker. But the three-star running back will be lining up exclusively in the backfield in Neyland Stadium.

"The way the coaches are talking is strictly running back,"'s No. 29 running back said. Bourque plans to major in sports medicine and currently maintains a 2.4 GPA.

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