'Hungry' Pearson ready to work, be a Vol

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That feeling a coach gets when the turbo charger is mounted to the engine of success…yeah, that's how Tennessee coaches feel Sunday after landing LaVon Pearson.

"They jumped up and picked me up and went 'Woooo!'" Pearson told InsideTennessee after his verbal commitment to the Volunteers. "They were excited. I told them I'm not trying to fool them. I'm going to come here hungry and ready to work."

A word commonly used to describe what prospects like about the Orange & White is "family." The Feather River (Calif.) Community College standout echoed that sentiment when pointing at why he wants to strap on a Power T helmet next season.

"Basically, Tennessee was one big family," Pearson said. "I felt so close to Tennessee. I mean who wouldn't want to go there when they treat you so much like you're a part of a big family?"

First-year Butch Jones continues to blaze through recruiting against the country's elite as though it's no more than a hobby. Jones showed Pearson what life under his leadership will be like.

"He's a great coach, he's a great coach," Pearson said. "He picked a wonderful staff that has his back and is not going to turn on him or just tell him what he wanted to hear. He's just straight up with them and all the fans love him. He's a great coach, and I'm looking forward to being coached by him."

Pearson gave his pledge on the heels of an official visit to Tennessee, which included his being in the front row at Neyland Stadium to see the Big Orange take down South Carolina 23-21 on Saturday.

Coordinator Mike Bajakian's scheme figures to get increasingly quicker tempo-wise as the Vols become familiar and on the same page. His offense totaled 325 yards versus a Jadeveon Clowney-led Gamecocks defense.

"They were playing great," said Pearson, who's led the Golden Eagles to a four-game winning streak after dropping their first two games of 2013. "They play no-huddle so everybody gets the ball so nobody's complaining. I love the way they've got the ball going around to all the playmakers."

Vols wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni has spear-headed the recruitment of the JUCO talent.

"He's a great coach," Pearson said. "I can tell he knows what he's talking about. Coach Z…he's smart, he's intelligent, he knows his position well, very well."

Pearson, who was first-team All-Peninsula District back in 2009 while suiting up for Denbigh (Va.) High School, will have a chance to play the next two years much closer to his Newport News, Va., home and family.

"It's remarkable, man," Pearson said. "When you know your family is there to watch you play ball and they haven't' seen you play ball since high school, it's just…you've got to be thankful for that, you know? I'm very thankful for that.

"They don't usually come to California to see me play because it causes money problems. Other than that, man, for them to drive 7 hours to come see me play is like a blessing."

Pearson leads the Golden Eagles offense with 62 receptions for 1,114 yards with 10 touchdowns. The challenge of playing in the Southeastern Conference versus some of the most physical defensive backs in the country isn't something that scares Pearson.

"That was not a problem, that was not a problem," he said. "I was not worried about that. I just wanted to see where my team was at, wanted to see if I can play with them guys. Honestly, I think I can fit right in and I have no worries. After seeing the game, I didn't see anybody out there that I would have a problem with."

One of the lasting impressions of seeing Tennessee take down South Carolina and end a 19-game losing streak to ranked opponents was the pandemonium on Shields-Watkins Field after Michael Palardy's game-winning field goal as time expired.

"It felt like family, man," Pearson said. "They all were connected. They all were connected in some type of way. They love the team, they love the atmosphere, they love everything about Tennessee."

A trip to the Peyton Manning Locker Room with the Vols to rejoice in the celebration was memory-making.

"Wonderful, wonderful," he said. "They made a couple speeches in there and made me get the goose bumps. I was like, 'Dang! I want to play now!' It was great, it was great being in there."

Pearson said his other offers were from Illinois and Utah with calls coming from Arizona State, Louisville, Oregon and South Carolina. However, he appears bought into an orange-clad future.

"I'm not even worried about all that. I'm all in, I'm all in," he said.

"I told coach Jones that he has nothing to worry about, man. I'm not going to leave him. If I say I'm committed then that's my word."

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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