'Bittersweet' trip to Big Orange Country

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On the football field, Christopher Weatherd is a predator. In the recruiting world, he's the prey.

Since the outside linebacker's Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College film from 2013 circulated earlier this year, the scholarship offers flooded to his doorstep in force.

On May 31, Weatherd decided he'd leave his home state and finish his final two years of college eligibility at Tennessee. However, Texas A&M pulling the trigger on an offer gave him the opportunity to stay closer to his mother and play Southeastern Conference football.

Weatherd maintains that he'll be on campus in Knoxville come January.

"They're still trying," he said of the Aggies staff, "but I've been telling them 'Hey, look, this is where I'm going,' but they've been like 'Hey, look, we've got to get you up here first,' and things like that. I'm not going to go up there at all."

Weatherd is going to allow Aggies linebackers coach Mark Hagen to speak to him when he visits Trinity Valley this week but that's all.

Before the question even finished its completion, the Carrollton, Texas, native had a repeated answer on his commitment level to the Big Orange.

"Very firm, very firm," Weatherd told InsideTennessee. "I can't wait to be up here in January, man. I already talked to the coaches, and they're going to try to get me here Jan. 1 so I can get everything going, get with the defense, get a look at the playbook and you know get to work."

Last weekend, the FOX Sports/Scout four-star took a "bittersweet" visit to Rocky Top to see the Volunteers beat South Alabama 31-24. With the 'backer out two weeks with a tearing of ligaments in a calf muscle, he and a friend drove up from the Lone Star State.

"It was a close one," said Weatherd, who took an official visit the weekend of Sept. 7. "The atmosphere was great. I don't really like it when people leave (before) the fourth quarter. I can't really say anything, but it was a great atmosphere. I love coming up here, that's why I made the trip in the first place. I just love it up here and that's why I came."

One of the reasons to see the competition versus the Jaguars was to get another look at how his spot plays in coordinator John Jancek's scheme, most specifically overseeing Vols starters Brent Brewer, A.J. Johnson and Dontavis Sapp.

"For the most part, they had a healthy game," Weatherd said. "So, that was really good."

Dual-threat quarterbacks ran for 178 on the Vols over the last three games combined. This tackler says no doubt he can help defending the scrambling signal-callers.

"Yeah, definitely, not to toot my own horn but I really do think so," Weatherd said. "I know I'll help out on the speed from the QB scrambling like he did today. I mean he was good but he can be stopped."

Spending time with prospective teammates is something the incoming transfer makes it a point to do.

"I talked to A.J. and I mean 'Hey, man, can't wait to have you up here.' I'm really hoping A.J. stays one more year so I can it can be me, Curt (Maggitt) and A.J."

Tennessee has other linebackers like Kenneth Bynum, Christian Harris and Justin King who will be in meeting rooms and competing for a spot alongside Weatherd.

"I get to know some of them," Weatherd said. "They all said they watch my film and I can do some explosive things out there and I can be a good help to the team. Therefore, that kind of makes me happy because people don't really think about meeting the players and coaches are talking about me. That's just an awesome feeling when coaches and players are talking at the same time."

Time with the staff is always vital to help secure commitments. The Texas native says this trip included plenty of that.

"They're always happy to see me," he said. "I always hear, 'We can't wait to have you up here, we need you on the field, wish you could suit up today,' and things like that."

Weatherd missed the Navarro College game and is likely to miss this week's contest versus Northeastern Oklahoma A&M with the bad calf. However, he expects to strap up for the matchup with Blinn College on Oct. 12.

Since he cannot play for Trinity Valley, it's likely Vols fans will see him in attendance for the Georgia game at Neyland Stadium this Saturday.

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 FOX Sports NEXT team July 2011.
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