Vols get their signal-caller

Keep it locked to InsideTennessee to stay updated on all the recruiting news coming out of Big Orange Country. See below to read about a Class of 2013 quarterback who is ready to be a Vol.

Followers of Tennessee football recruiting have wondered for weeks what direction the Volunteers would go in their search for a quarterback with the Class of 2013.

Several players held individual workouts in front of head coach Derek Dooley and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. After miles of footage has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb, scholarship offers extended and months of recruiting, Tennessee has its man — Riley Ferguson.

The three-star prospect as rated by FOX Sports Next confirmed his verbal pledge to the Big Orange on Thursday. Many factors contributed to his pulling the trigger.

"A whole bunch of things," Ferguson told InsideTennessee. "It just felt right there. It just seemed like they genuinely cared about me and my family. I've always liked UT ever since I was little. I got my room colored the same color paint as Tennessee when I was like 8 years old. I've just always liked them."

The Matthews, N.C., native camped in Knoxville on Monday and that visit cemented the decision.

"That helped me make my decision a lot because when I went there I liked everything I saw. I was like, 'I like it, so I'm going to commit,'" Ferguson said.

Tennessee running backs coach Jay Graham recruits the Charlotte area as well as any position coach in the Southeastern Conference. He made his way to David W. Butler (N.C.) High School earlier this year and asked Ferguson and his teammates to camp at UT.

"I think (Graham) is a great guy. He came down a couple of times to our school, and I talked to him there," Ferguson said.

The coaching staff in Knoxville has spoken glowingly about where the Vols are at quarterback throughout the spring with junior Tyler Bray, sophomore Justin Worley and freshman Nathan Peterman. The odds favor Ferguson coming in and redshirting, which he says he is open to.

He gave Tennessee fans an idea as to what they can expect from the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder when he strides onto Shields-Watkins Field sporting the Power T: "Just a competitor. I just love competing. I'll do anything it takes to win. That's just how I've always been. I'm just coming in to win football games."

Going under center with 102,000-plus people screaming isn't something that players show up prepared for. Ferguson chuckled at the prospect.

"That's going to be crazy. I already know that. I just can't wait for it to actually happen," he said.

The competition of the Southeastern Conference is something most prospects tell InsideTennessee that they thirst for. Ferguson is no different.

"That's unbelievable," Ferguson said. "Just having an opportunity is unbelievable. I've always wanted to play in a big conference like that. I'm just taking advantage of it, and hopefully making everything I can out of it."

Last season, the right-hander threw for 3,343 yards and 53 touchdowns. Butler, which averaged 46.2 yards per game in 2011, utilizes a similar style system as UT's, which should allow Ferguson to flourish.

"I've always been in a Pro-Style offense since I was younger," he said. "That's how I've been raised and taught how to do and stuff — going under center, getting all your drops. I think that has helped me a lot."

FOX Sports Next national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons said this about the future Vol: "Ferguson is a gun-slinger back there at quarterback. He is a signal-caller that really trusts his arm and believes he can make any throw. He can force balls at times, but he gets into many tight windows as well. He throws the ball good outside the pocket, he has good mobility, and he keeps plays alive when they breakdown. Consistency is where he needs to improve. He is a streaky passer with an above average arm."

Here is a look at Ferguson throwing passes at the Elite 11 tryout in Buford, Ga., back in early May:

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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