Plunkett sold on Vol staff

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Breaking up is hard to do.

When Andrew Plunkett hung up his football cleats for good, it weighed heavy on his heart.

The Memphis University (Tenn.) School quarterback and slot receiver was just starting to work his way into the offense, when he decided a change was necessary.

Plunkett knew if he wanted to take the next steps in his baseball career it meant giving up on football sooner rather than later.

That decision, no matter how gut-wrenching, turned out quite fruitful for the Class of 2013 prospect as it allowed him time to camp at Tennessee last October and perform in front of coaches that first had their heads turned by the MUS standout in Atlanta, Ga., last summer.

The slick hitting outfielder got the offer he desired and verbally committed to Tennessee and coach Dave Serrano back in late February.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder said it was Serrano and the other Volunteer coaches that sparked him to verbal.

"I think the coaching staff is awesome; I'm not gonna to lie," Plunkett told InsideTennessee. "And, what I've heard from players the last couple of years, the players weren't really into it as much. This coaching staff comes in and all of a sudden everything switches around."

Air Force had already offered with Arkansas and Vanderbilt showing significant interest.

Although Memphis is a solid skip across the Volunteer State to his eventual home in Knoxville, Plunkett is already developing a sense of pride to play for his state university.

"It feels pretty good knowing that you're not only representing your school but you're also representing the state of Tennessee too," he said. "That was one of the biggest things when I was talking to the coaching staff was that they said they were going to be recruiting more of the in-state players than they were before."

Thus far, Serrano & Co. have held true to their word as all three commitments for 2013 are in-state stars, including Plunkett, Columbia Central right-handed pitcher Hayden Stone and Farragut outfielder Cameron Strickland.

Plunkett doesn't yet know his fellow class members but does know Class of 2012 signee and catcher Michael Parrish, who played at nearby Evangelical Christian.

"Man, I love him. He's an awesome guy," Plunkett said.

"I think he's a really good one. He has a lot of potential when he gets up to college."

Plunkett plays summer baseball with Dulin's Dodgers and was once teammates with another future UT teammate in left-handed pitcher Drake Owenby, who has also signed last November. Plunkett mentioned he played for years against incoming walk-on pitcher Andy Cox, who prepped at St. Benedict.

"It almost makes you feel like you're at home, and you're playing with guys that you played against," Plunkett said. "It makes you feel pretty good."

Already on the Tennessee roster is former MUS standout Jason Manis, who caught in six games this past season. Planning to join the Vol roster this fall is MUS right-handed pitcher Daniel Harris.

MUS is fresh off another run at a TSSAA Div. II Class AA state championship that fell one win short for the third consecutive season. Plunkett did everything in his power, going 7-for-14 for the week.

For those that haven't gotten a look at the Owl in action, he provided a description of his skill set at the dish.

"I'd say more of a gap-to-gap kind of hitter, drive in some runs," he said. "Going to UT, probably the biggest issue is probably putting on some weight. If I can put on some weight, those doubles to the gap might be home runs. I'm trying to gain some weight right now so by the time I get to Tennessee, I'm ready."

Plunkett estimated that his grade point average is in the 3.5-3.75 range.

Danny Parker is currently the Associate Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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