Creamer: 'I wanted to be a Volunteer one day'

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Butch Jones led the Tennessee football team out for its first spring practice on Saturday with over three dozen recruits and former Volunteers surrounding Haslam Field. Since then, there's been a buzz about Rocky Top both with the current team and in recruiting.

That excitement around the program and the family atmosphere is resonating with targets and the third verbal commitment in three days went down Monday as Neiko Creamer told Jones he plans to be a Vol.

"(Jones) said, 'Are you kidding me?' He walked into the board room and said, 'Guys, we've got a new Vol' and I heard cheering in the conference room," Creamer told InsideTennessee. "He told me after all that that I made his day.

"It lets me know how anxious they were for me to pull the trigger and come on board with the Vols. It's just a great feeling to know that your coach wanted you that bad and to play for his program. It's just like a home feeling to get that reaction."

The FOX Sports NEXT three-star athlete pulled the trigger after four-star safety Todd Kelly did the same Sunday and the No. 3 center in the country, Coleman Thomas, pledged Saturday.

"Just the legacy of the Vols," Creamer said of why the Big Orange. "If you look at the history of the SEC, which is a great conference itself, you just…you look at teams like Alabama being one of the top teams around today and one of the top teams in the SEC history. Lately, Tennessee hasn't been doing as well, but I think I can help the program out."

Creamer and Kelly both are sons of former Tennessee greats. Andre Creamer suited up for the Orange & White 1984-88. Neiko, who last visited for a junior day in February, is anxious to follow in his dad's footsteps.

"Ever since I was little, growing up as an athlete, playing basketball, playing football, I knew I wanted to be a Volunteer one day," Neiko Creamer said. "So, it's great to just have the opportunity to make that choice."

Andre Creamer works in Baltimore, Md., but isn't too far away to still provide support. The former Vol got the news Monday morning.

"He gave me the 'dad talk' and all that stuff," Neiko said. "I really don't know his emotion, but he told me he's proud of me and told me to continue to work hard."

The 6-foot-4, 212-pounder chose the Vols over scholarship offers from Boston College, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and West Virginia. He visited Connecticut, Duke and Temple.

"It's just always been my dream (to play for Tennessee). If I would have I had my choice between a couple other schools but eventually it came boil down to being a Volunteer athlete," said Creamer, who is originally from Raleigh, N.C.

The Wilmington, Del., resident tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in Nov. 2011. After that and given his age, he decided to re-classify to the Class of 2014 instead of 2013 to give him time to both play football his final year at Eastern Christian (Md.) Academy and prepare himself for college.

"Neiko is very talented but missing the 2012 season really hurt his recruitment," FOX Sports NEXT national analyst Brian Dohn said. "Before the injury, he demonstrated good ball skills and an ability to use his size to outmaneuver smaller defensive backs. However, he needs to show confidence in his knee to make sharp cuts and demonstrate he can still change direction well.

"His upside is plentiful, but he lost a valuable season of development."

Creamer said he is not sure if he will visit any other schools but plans to return to Knoxville for the Orange & White game at Neyland Stadium on April 20.

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

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