The tackle spot for the Volunteers looks that much better for the future after Dontavius Blair announced plans to enroll at Tennessee in January.
Blair visited Tennessee back on June 24, taking a tour to see the dorm rooms and academic side of things. He visited Auburn almost a month later. The Tigers quarterback is Nick Marshall, who Blair blocked for at Garden City in 2012.
"It was just home, man," Blair told InsideTennessee. "When I took my visit everything was there for me in my hands. Only thing I had to do was pick it up and run with it. But, I just felt like I needed to take more visits to make it official for me. When I took my other visits, I had to sleep on it a couple nights and talk it over with my family."
The 6-foot-8, 302-pounder is a FOX Sports and Scout four-star prospect. His suiting up for the Big Orange this spring will give them their second signee from Garden City (Kan.) Community College in as many years, joining 2013 cornerback signee Riyahd Jones.
The Vols beat out several prominent programs to get Blair, including Arizona State, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Kansas State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and USC.
"Oh, man, they went crazy," Blair said of the reaction of the Tennessee coaches. "They passed the phone around."
A conversation with first-year head coach Butch Jones was part of the phone call placed to Knoxville.
"He just said he can't wait to get me and get me in that weight program," the four-star said. "He was just ready for me to pull that trigger and told me I made his night."
One of several draws to Knoxville for Blair is first-year offensive line coach Don Mahoney.
"It'll be great because of the type person (Mahoney) is; he's a great person," Blair said. "I know he's going to push me to be great. Not only that but he's going to push me to get to where I want to be, which is the league (NFL) basically."
An opportunity to play right away also factored into the declaration as the Volunteers graduate four starting offensive lineman with a fifth, Antonio Richardson, expected to forgo his senior year of eligibility for the NFL Draft.
"That's the thing, seeing Antonio Richardson and what he's doing and seeing what he plans to do, the only thing I can do is work on me and try to follow his progression," Blair said.
The blocker is on track to graduate in December and enroll at Tennessee in January, which gives him 15 extra practices to get ready for SEC football in 2014.
"It'll be great. I'm going to hit the weightroom hard because I'm a hard-working player," he said.
Playing under first-year head coach Matt Miller, the Broncbusters (4-2) lost 20-10 to Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference rival Butler County last weekend. In another league game, Garden City hosts Highland on Saturday night at 7.
"Things are going great," Blair said. "I'm just doing my thing."
Here's a look at Blair in action for the Broncbusters: