Kyle Phillips, the Volunteer State's top-ranked prospect, made his third trip to Knoxville this season to watch the Vols take on Vanderbilt on Nov. 23.
The Scout four-star defensive end said "nothing" was different about his latest visit, and that's by no means a bad thing.
"It was same old, same old," Phillips told InsideTennessee. "It was just the exact same as every visit I've had here, and when I say that I mean it in a good way. When I come here I know exactly what I am going to get and it's always good. Again, it was another solid visit."
The lone difference in Phillips' most recent trek to Tennessee was that his mother joined him. Phillips said his mom "liked everything" about the visit.
"That was really nice this time for her to come up here and see the campus, you know?" the Hillsboro (Tenn.) High School product said. "It was fun for her to get to know the coaches and see a game. She approved of it and that was really nice."
Outside giving mom the full tour, the nation's No. 22 defensive end said visiting with Tennessee's coaching staff was his favorite part of the visit – just as it always is.
"Just talking to the coaches, that's always my favorite part every time I come," Phillips told IT. "They always treat me the same way every time I visit and I just feel real close to them. That's the thing I like about them a lot, they're just straight with you as always. They are all real cool."
While Phillips watched Tennessee fall to Vanderbilt in heart-breaking fashion, he still fully believes in head coach Butch Jones' rebuilding plan, saying both the Vols' effort on the field and game day environment has "changed a ton" from last season.
"I remember visiting last year and stuff and this year is just so different," the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder said. "Just the way they play, they play hard now and the whole environment at UT, it's just great and it's totally different from when I would visit last year. It's exciting to see the program take that turn. They're playing hard. It's just lack of talent as you can see. They're playing hard so that's good to see. "
Phillips' most recent offer was from Missouri, marking his 17th scholarship. He maintains that he's "no where close" to making a decision and will take his time during the recruiting process.
"No need to rush," he said.
Phillips had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder more than a month ago. He is now out of a sling and says recovery is going smoothly.