In-state prospect becoming hot commodity

InsideTennessee brings you the best and latest Tennessee recruiting coverage. Scroll down to read about an in-state four-star who is drawing interest from the Vols.

As his recruitment begins to pick up, Daniel Bituli isn't focused on what he can't control.

The Nashville Christian (Tenn.) High School standout speaks with cool confidence – not to be confused with cockiness – when discussing landing future scholarship offers.

None have come yet. But they will. And soon.

His Scout four-star ranking, his stout 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame, his impressive interest list – which includes Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Cincinnati, Virginia and Duke – all serve as proof.

Oh, and one other thing: He's only a sophomore.

"I feel very humbled and blessed to be where I am now," Bituli told InsideTennessee. "I know I couldn't have done so without my coaches and teammates, so I owe them first and foremost. But I'm sure (offers) will start coming in next year. I just have to keep working on my end."

Bituli has been visited by a host of different schools in recent weeks, but most recently Tennessee and offensive line coach Don Mahoney dropped by Nashville Christian to check in on the rising talent.

While the Class of 2016 prospect said he didn't grow up a Tennessee fan, he admits there is still interest in the Vols. But in order for that interest to grow, Bituli will have to check out the campus for himself.

"I have heard a lot of good things (about Tennessee), but I can't just rely on things others people say," Bituli said. "I have to experience it on my own before I really know what I think about Tennessee."

Before offers start to come, Bituli has been thinking about a "wish list" of what he'll be looking for in the search to find the right school.

As of now, academics matter most. He also said staying in state is not a top priority.

"The academics, you can't play football forever," Bituli told IT. "I want a place that allows me to focus on my grades and make time to study, not just play football. I also want a great relationship with the coaches."

Bituli, who plays both running back and outside linebacker in high school, says he's open to playing either position at the next level.

That said, most programs see Bituli as a linebacker – and he tends to agree.

"I love both positions and I'd play whichever one they'd want me to play, but I think linebacker would be a good spot for me," Bituli said. "My eyes are open to both, though."

Like his approach to waiting on future offers, Bituli is focused inward this offseason.

He's focused on increasing "all" his weight room numbers, but his priority is saying on top of his grades.

"This offseason, I obviously want to work on my bench and get bigger and stronger everywhere, but I'm really focused on my grades and getting a good GPA so I don't have to worry about any of that down the road," Bituli told IT. "I just have to focus on myself and getting everything to where it needs to be for the future."

Bituli plans to take "several" visit and attend a handful of camps this spring, but is unaware of specifics at this time.

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