That all changed Wednesday as coach Derek Dooley and his staff added Dante Phillips to the fold.
The 6-foot-6, 335-pounder originally verbally committed to Florida back on Oct. 25, 2010, and signed with the Gators in February. He is considered academically eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse, but he found out on June 28 that he was denied admission to Florida, citing a portion of Phillips' transcript.
That meant that the FOX Sports NEXT four-star had to find another home for his collegiate football career, according to reports, preferably in the Southeastern Conference.
The Venice Senior (Fla.) High School product made his way to Knoxville on Sunday and stayed on campus until Tuesday. He was all smiles when InsideTennessee saw him hanging out with other Vols.
Phillips is applying for admission into Tennessee on Wednesday. No complications are expected.
Classes start for Tennessee's fall semester on Aug. 22. However, once Phillips participates in his first preseason camp session on Aug. 2, he will officially become a Volunteer.
One possibility to get Phillips locked in sooner is if he can sign paperwork with the Southeastern Conference, which would likely alleviate some stress from Tennessee coaches.
Phillips joins Danny O'Brien, Daniel McCullers, Trent Taylor and Darrington Sentimore as one of the better defensive line hauls in recent history for the Big Orange. Given his stature, he provides a clearcut option at nose guard as the currently "multiple" defensive scheme transitions into a base 3-4.
He participated in the U.S. Army All-American game back in January with other future Vols wide receiver Drae Bowles and safety LaDarrell McNeil.
In the FHSAA Class 7A state playoffs last winter, Venice eliminated Countryside 28-27 before falling in the second round to Manatee 34-21.
FOX Sports NEXT regional analyst Mike Bakas ranked Phillips as the No. 28 player in the state.
"You'll have a hard time finding a player with a better skill set at his position anywhere in the state," Bakas said. "He has ideal size for a major college defensive line prospect, and he has the athleticism to even play end to start out with. He also plays along the offensive line and could end up on that side of the ball."