Wharton wants No. 1 class in 2014

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Vic Wharton verbally committing to Tennessee back on Christmas Day wasn't only a present for coach Butch Jones from the perspective of getting a multi-dimensional athlete, but also in adding a key recruiter toward building a potentially high-end crop of talent in the Class of 2014.

Wharton recently made the drive from Williamson County over to Knoxville to continue getting to know the Volunteers, the coaches and to aid in the recruitment of top targets, including linebacker Dillon Bates and wide receiver Neiko Creamer.

"It went great," Wharton told InsideTennessee. "I was hanging with Dillon and Neiko the whole time, just talking and telling them it's fine if you go look at other schools but all in all you've got to know this is the best place you can come. This is the best school in the country."

While some coaches prefer to have the recruiting left entirely to themselves, Jones & Co. seem receptive to getting Wharton's help.

"They were joking around about how I'm recruiting, and I've just got to keep doing it, keep trying to get these kids here," the slot receiver and safety said. "I want to win a national championship while I'm here. I think we can be the No. 1 recruiting class in the country when I come out of high school."

The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder says it is important to keep in-state talent and legacy recruits playing for the Orange & White.

"I think it's huge," Wharton said. "After they see these other kids commit, other than me, if Neiko and Dillon went ahead and committed, I think it would bring other people to commit with us. T.K. (Kelly) as well."

Wharton would like nothing more than to call heralded running back Jalen Hurd (pictured) a teammate at Tennessee.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
The Independence (Tenn.) High standout said he has not spoken with legacy targets Evan Berry and Elliot Berry in awhile, "but I think they'll end up coming here. It's the right thing to do. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to follow your family."

The staff kept the afternoon in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center relaxed and just worked on bonding with the juniors that made the trip. Wharton teamed up with wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni against Bates and tight ends coach Mark Elder in the corn hole tournament.

Wharton is enjoying furthering his friendship and admiration for Jones.

"It's great. I've known coach Jones for about a year now because when he was at Cincinnati, I was thinking about committing there just because he was there. Then, when he came to Tennessee it was just an obvious choice."

It's going to take both to get numerous highly-recruited players in orange. Among those is record-setting running back and Beech (Tenn) High stud Jalen Hurd. Having the state champion as a teammate is something Wharton greatly desires.

"It'd be huge. Usually the best kid in your state does come to the in-state school and the in-state school is Tennessee. I think he'll end up making the right choice," Wharton said.

Danny Parker is currently the Managing 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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