Peppers says Vols are 'part of my life'

Stay on top of all the football recruiting information concerning the Tennessee Volunteers with a subscription to Sign up now to read about this prospect that recently visited Knoxville.

To Demaris Peppers, the announced sellout crowd of 102,455 fans to see Tennessee welcome Alabama at Neyland Stadium was merely an added bonus. 

Traveling the 398 miles to campus from Fairley High School in Memphis, Tenn., the FOX Sports NEXT two-star defensive tackle says he was sold on the Vols well before he arrived in Knoxville.

"I knew before I even got in the car that I loved it," Peppers told InsideTennessee. "I'm a Tennessee fan. I have lived in Tennessee all my life. The Vols have been a part of my life and my family's for a long time."

While the Class of 2013 prospect attests he has been a Vols fan since he can remember, the Vols' Oct. 20 hosting of No. 1 Alabama was the first time Peppers had been to a game. And, according to the 6-foot-3, 260-pound prospect, the experience lived up to his expectations despite tabbing Tennessee's play as "less than stellar."

"The play wasn't the best, I'll admit that. But Alabama can play ball, they good, and I have never been to a game with that many people — period," Peppers said. "Being on the field in that atmosphere and seeing them play in person, it was all crazy. I mean, that's Neyland Stadium — not many places like it."

As one of many unofficial visitors on hand, Peppers had to find his own way to Knoxville and says he arrived at around 5:30 p.m. With a sizeable game day crowd already there by the time he reached campus, Peppers says the swarm of fans prevented him from touring the athletic facilities and exploring the school.

  Peppers said the shortened visit was more than enough to keep the Vols atop his list, which includes offers from Arkansas State, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Houston and Minnesota and interest from Mississippi State, Missouri and Arkansas.

"We arrived kinda late," Peppers said. "Not too to late, but by the time I got there everything was already crazy so I couldn't really look around, though. Oh well, I got to see more than enough. I want to be back that's for sure. I don't care how much I saw or didn't see, you can't beat this."

While Peppers has not received an offer from Tennessee, he said a scholarship from the Vols would be a "dream."

"Tennessee, if they offered me, I'd end up going," Peppers said. "That would be crazy. I would be staying in my home, playing for my state, most of my family lives here. Man, there's not a bad part to it."   

Peppers said he was given a chance to talk with wide receivers coach Darin Hinshaw (recruits the Memphis area for Tennessee) and defensive line coach John Palermo during his visit to Rocky Top.  

"Meeting the coaches and stuff was cool," he said. "We're working on building a relationship and all that. Overall it was great. Even though they aren't winning like I think they can, in my mind you just can't beat (Tennessee)."  

Peppers says that he cannot determine a favorite school from those who have offered him. He also added that he is not sure of his future visitation plans. 

Inside Tennessee Top Stories