Hard work pays off for frosh Stevens

Stay informed on the future of Tennessee football with a subscription to InsideTennessee.com. Sign in to read about another mid-state prospect gaining a scholarship offer from the Big Orange coaching staff.

Scholarship offers can come days before National Signing Day or well in advance.

At times the trigger is pulled to simply help a coaching staff fill a need in that year's signing class. With others, the grant is planted on the table early in the process with priority targets.

Tennessee took a definitive step to let Jacoby Stevens know he's wanted as the Ensworth (Tenn.) School freshman got his orange-clad offer Sunday.

"I was very excited once I got the offer," Stevens told InsideTennessee. "It's my first one, and I couldn't believe it. It's like a reward for the hard work that I've put in with Playmakers (Academy) and sacrifices my parents made for me."

Ironically, news of the opportunity to play Southeastern Conference football in three years came while Stevens was training.

"I was going through my workout and one of the coaches brought me to the side to kind of let me know what was going on," the freshman said. "He kind of told me and handed me the phone and I talked to some of the (Tennessee) coaches and they told me I was offered. We had a great conversation, and I told them how I felt about it and stuff like that."

Stevens getting his Vols offer sooner than Tennessee signee and Ensworth teammate Michael Sawyers and four-star junior Rico McGraw gives him a chance to nudge his fellow Tigers in the side.

"I don't think I'm going to do that," Stevens said laughingly. "I'm truly blessed that God gave me the talent I have. I appreciate them."

Stevens resides in Bellevue, Tenn., but his parents are from Louisiana. He has advanced size for a prospect his age, measuring in at 6 feet 2, 190 pounds.

Stevens started as a freshman for the Tigers and played through a sprained ACL, MCL and PCL, which forced him to compete with a bulky knee brace. However, the injury won't require surgery.

In 2013, he plugged in as a linebacker for TSSAA Division II Class AA state champion Ensworth after a teammate went down with an injury. His most natural spot is wide receiver.

"I think my best position is going to be wideout," Stevens said. "I look up to Calvin Johnson with his big body type and how he runs and catches the ball. I think I see myself in him. If I keep working hard and am willing to listen, I think I can be another Calvin Johnson."

Stevens is "looking forward to coming to Knoxville" on a visit and is "very interested" in Tennessee. However, he competes for the Ensworth basketball team presently, so a trip to Rocky Top may not come until late March or April.

He expects to speak with Tennessee coach Butch Jones on Monday.

Discuss Stevens' future and the Vols' again tapping the Ensworth pipeline with InsideTennessee analysts and subscribers by

clicking here.

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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