Angel still 'loving' Vols' coaching staff

InsideTennessee brings you the best team and recruiting coverage around. Scroll down to read how Gabe Angel's latest visit to Rocky Top went.

Gabe Angel paused, glanced toward the ceiling and raised a finger to his chin.

He was stumped.

The Scout four-star tight end had just been asked how many times he's made the short drive from his home near Cookeville, Tenn., to Knoxville.

"Who knows," he says with a grin. "Like four? No. Like five or six, maybe. Seven? I don't really know."

Angel isn't sure how many times he's tripped to Tennessee, but that doesn't mean each visit is a blur.

No, he'll tell you every time he's on campus he learns something new about the Vols and walks away "even more impressed."

Last weekend was no exception.

In his most recent stop to Tennessee for the Vols' junior day event, Angel said he got the chance to talk with coaches in a "better environment" than ever before.

The last time Angel was on Rocky Top was to watch the Vols play Auburn. While he said he enjoyed talking to coaches then, he admits they were "tense" and "very focused" on that Saturday's game.

There were no worries last Saturday, making for what Angel calls "a great talk" with Tennessee coaches.

"It was really nice to get back up here and meet with all the coaches again. We're, you know, just building on the relationship we already have which is going really well," Angel told InsideTennessee. "I feel really comfortable with those guys and we just got to talk more and get to know each other even better. That never hurts. It was way more laid back and just a really good talk this time."

Angel spent time chatting with tight ends coach Mark Elder, calling their relationship "solid."

But the Class of 2016 standout calls his one-on-one conversation with Tennessee head coach Butch Jones his favorite part of the trip.

"(Jones) was just telling me that he loves me and wants me to come up here and play for him," Angel told IT. "That's what we talk about every time, how he wants me. And that effort isn't wasted. I know that and it means a lot. I know I'm wanted. It was a really good talk."

Angel has told IT several times that he fully believes in Jones' rebuilding plans. That hasn't changed.

"I just like how coach Jones is doing things up here," Angel told IT. "I like him and his staff. Like, I like them a lot. They're turning things around here and I just like being around those guys."

The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is well versed in what the Tennessee program has to offer. He's toured Neyland Stadium, the facilities and campus several times before, but said it's "always good to see everything again."

Angel did enjoy seeing the new graphics and decorations added to the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.

"That place just keeps getting nicer and nicer," Angel said.

Angel visited Auburn and Kentucky before making it to Tennessee last weekend. He plans to visit Vanderbilt in late March, saying he's never really spoken to the new Commodores staff.

Angel also hopes to be back in Knoxville for a spring practice in the next few weeks.


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