Jones covets another Abernathy

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MARIETTA, Ga. — Hunting speed for his Cincinnati roster in the Class of 2011, coach Butch Jones ventured into Atlanta and came out with a signed National Letter of Intent from running back Ralph Abernathy IV.

Though Jones is now at Tennessee, the search continues to sign athleticism and explosiveness…and the head man is going back into the Dogwood City and knocking on the Abernathy Family door.

This time the target is Micah Abernathy, who's a Scout four-star cornerback at Greater Atlanta Christian School.

"He's a great guy," Abernathy said of Jones. "I knew him before he went to Tennessee because he coached my brother at Cincinnati. I know what type of man he is off the field, and he's a good guy.

"I'm trying not to take that into too much consideration because I want to have everybody at an even playing field right now. I mean, it's a benefit because I know what type of guy he is."

Tennessee defensive backs coach Willie Martinez has been at work building a relationship with the No. 37 corner in the nation.

"We've talked a lot more recently; he's a great guy," Abernathy said. "He's very animated, you can tell he loves what he does. You can tell he has a love for the game and a love for his players."

Abernathy took part in a junior day in Knoxville back on March 8. While on The Hill, he caught a glimpse at what life in Big Orange Country is like as a spectator at the men's basketball game versus Missouri at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"The fans are crazy," Abernathy said. "They support their school. I can say that, they support their school."

The junior day included a tour of campus.

"It's a beautiful campus, everything was new and polished," Abernathy said. "You could tell they take pride in what they have."

The Vols won't sign many defensive backs in their 2015 class and have a commitment from three-star safety Stephen Griffin. However, the 6-foot-1, 182-pounder, who also returns punts and kicks, has the ability to play all over the secondary.

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"I can play corner or safety," Abernathy said. "But, my primary position is corner.

"They know that I can play offense and defense. They like that I'm versatile, and I can move around on defense. They know that I can move around and play other positions. They like that I know what to do with the ball in my hand."

The corner is taking a deliberate approach to the recruiting cycle. He says he has no list of top schools.

"Not right now; I'm just taking it slow," he said. "I'm thinking about narrowing things down during my senior season."

A public declaration could come in early January.

"I'm thinking about the Under Armour game," Abernathy said.

Abernathy plays at Greater Atlanta Christian alongside fellow Vols target Darius Slayton, who is also rated a Scout four-star cornerback. The opportunity is there for them to continue playing together in college as Slayton hold a Tennessee offer, too.

"We have not, but I know our moms have definitely talked about it a couple times," Abernathy said. "Right now, we're both taking it slow, weighing all our options. But, we haven't discussed that yet."

He didn't work out at the Atlanta NIKE Football Training Camp with a strained hamstring but said he will return to his school's track team soon, competing in the 100- and 200-meter dash.

Abernathy added that he doesn't yet have plans for further college visits.

Discuss Abernathy's recruitment with InsideTennessee analysts and subscribers by clicking here.

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the Scout team July 2011.
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