Tempo is faster. Team speed is up. Formations spread defenses farther as five-wide sets become the norm.
The gist: today's game is more about speed and less about brawn.
That's what makes a defender like Quarte Sapp so valuable.
Listed at 6 feet 2, 200 pounds, the Scout three-star prospect walks the line between outside linebacker and safety.
But who says he has to be labeled as one or the other?
After all, there's a lot of gray in today's game.
It's that speed and athleticism which helped earn Sapp the linebacker MVP award at last weekend's Atlanta NFTC event and an invite to The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., in July.
That same agility is also what has schools calling – and most of the time, it's Tennessee on the line.
"I hear from Tennessee the most, for sure," Sapp told IT.
The nation's No. 52 outside linebacker made an unofficial visit to Knoxville earlier this spring and said he "really enjoyed" the trip.
Making things sweeter, Sapp was joined by his mother as he toured the campus and facilities. It was her first visit of the sort, and by all accounts mom approved.
"I like them," Sapp said of the Vols. "…My mom was with me for her first junior day visit thing. It was a great experience for her. Just to have her with me, and telling me what she liked about the school, getting her feedback and her second eye, it was really good for me."
Sapp said he plans to visit the Vols once more this spring to watch a Tennessee practice and learn more about the program.
In the meantime, Sapp said former teammate at Milton (Ga.) High School and Tennessee signee Treyvon Paulk will do some filling in on what the orange and white have to offer.
"He tells me a little bit about (Tennessee)," Sapp said. "But, you know, I want to hear it for myself."
That's where Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie comes in.
Sapp tabbed Gillespie – who is serving as Sapp's lead recruiter – a "great coach" and added that they have a "awesome" relationship."
"He's a good person. He's a great coach. I like how he talks to me," Sapp told IT. "He's very straight forward and a really laid back guy. Obviously, he's not going to be like that on the football field, but he has a great personality."
Sapp plans to visit Florida and Miami in the coming weeks.
InsideTennessee managing editor Danny Parker contributed to this report.
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