All-American to play for Big Orange

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Wesley Horky first started hearing from coaches at Tennessee not terribly long after they were hired.

That effort paid off Monday as the prized specialist made a call to the football offices in Knoxville and gave his verbal commitment to walk on as a long snapper as part of the Class of 2014.

Although born in Pittsburgh, Pa., it didn't take long after a move to the Volunteer State for Horky to see his blood turn orange.

"When I first started playing football, that's when I started becoming a Tennessee fan," the Brentwood resident told InsideTennessee. "I guess in fourth grade was when I started following it. I went up to a couple games, and I just liked it a lot here."

His commitment to Tennessee, makes the 10th recruit in the 2014 signing class to come from within the Volunteer State.

Horky says it's that much more special to go to Tennessee when you're raised in Tennessee: "I think so, I think it does."

To get a grip on how Tennessee is back to recruiting at an extremely high level, it's hard to overlook the efforts of head man Butch Jones, who just arrived in early December 2012.

"He's the man; coach Jones is awesome," Horky said. "I don't know how else to describe it. I don't know how you couldn't respect him. He's a great guy.

"Coach Jones is going to turn the program around back to where it needs to be and that's on top because I don't know how anyone wouldn't want to play at Tennessee and for coach Jones. That's why it's about to be a really special time."

Tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Mark Elder is the lead recruiter for Tennessee with Horky and deserves some credit for the Williamson County native choosing to stay close to home.

"He was in my house last Monday doing an in-home visit with me," said Horky, who says Elder first started recruiting him more than a year ago.

Specialists at Tennessee don't cross train an incredible amount. Thus, Horky will get ample opportunity to develop precise muscle memory for snapping the football with accuracy and velocity.

"I'll just be snapping there," he said.

Redshirt freshman Danny Finch, redshirt junior Andrew Henry and redshirt junior Matt Giampapa (Michigan State transfer) are all in-state products on the Tennessee roster listed as long snappers. J.R. Carr held down that role the last two seasons, but was a senior in 2013.

Horky says he has a shot at securing a scholarship should he win the starting job at some point.

"Yes sir, I know I will," he said. "They haven't promised me anything, but I could be put on it in January."

As a sign of his ability sticking out in comparison to other long snappers, Horky earned a spot on the Under Armour All-American team that competed down in Florida in early January.

"That was one of the best experiences that I've ever had," Horky said. "That was so much fun, and I'll remember that forever. That was an unbelievable experience."

Competing on a different team in Lake Buena Vista and Orlando during Under Armour All-America week was Tennessee commit and fellow in-state product Aaron Medley, who stayed in Horky's ear about joining him on Rocky Top as a specialist.

"I like Aaron a lot, and I would love to play with him," Horky said. "He played a factor because we're both in-state guys and we're pretty good friends."

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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 Scout team July 2011.
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