Vols crack Veal's top 4

Keep up with all the recruiting news about the fast-rising Tennessee football program. Sign in to read about the eyebrow-raising unofficial visit a Tar Heel State native had last weekend.

The Tennessee coaching staff wastes no time showcasing the program to future recruits.

One of several 2015 recruits in attendance to see the Volunteers beat then-No. 9 South Carolina 23-21 on Saturday was FOX Sports and Scout three-star offensive tackle Mason Veal.

The Charlotte, N.C. native thoroughly enjoyed his special visit to Rocky Top.

"It was a great experience to be here and see a game like this in my first visit to Knoxville," Veal told InsideTennessee. "The atmosphere was incredible. It was loud the entire game and we didn't stop cheering in the recruiting section behind the end zone. Everybody was in it the entire game. It was awesome to be a part of a strong 95,000 fans.

"I will definitely keep looking at Tennessee and talking to the coaches. It was a great weekend and awesome game." So far into his recruitment the 6-foot-5, 288-pounder listed four schools that are in the lead: Clemson, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"Obviously I want to stay close to home, but that isn't the only factor that will go into my final decision," the junior blocker said. "I want a place where the whole community, like Tennessee, is all around a football team and is a strong family."

Like many other recruits and commitments he can see the strides that the Tennessee football program is making on becoming relevant in the national picture once again.

"It's definitely a big influence when you see the recruiting classes that Tennessee is building right now for not just next year but further along also," he said. "You can tell they are building for the future and that it isn't just a one-year deal. They are going to keep getting better and better."

On a week when Tennessee students were on fall break he was also impressed with the turnout in Neyland Stadium.

"Butch (Jones) is really focused on getting the fans in and being a part of the big picture," Veal said. "It helps bring out fans when facing a team as big as South Carolina, too."

While he doesn't have it planned to see another Vols game this season he believes he may pick up one more visit after making his last scheduled trip to the Florida-South Carolina game on Nov. 16.

His focus for the rest of his junior year playing for the Ardrey Kelly Knights (4-4) will be to help his team into the NCHSAA state playoffs and continuing to improve his presence up front.

"I want to keep pushing through this season and doing whatever I can to help my team win and go as far as possible," he said. "I'm doing pretty well this season but have room for improvement. My pass blocking is really solid and once I get my hands on somebody they are not getting by."

Strength will be no problem for Veal at the next level it seems, as he told IT that he maxes out on the bench press at 405 pounds and squats 505 pounds.


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