Cali's Waller picks up Vols offer

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With first-string quarterback Justin Worley graduating after the 2014 season and no quarterback signed for the 2014 recruiting class, reeling in a pair of top-level field generals is among the priorities for the Tennessee staff with the 2015 crop.

Staffed with being the point-man on fulfilling that need is second-year Tennessee offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian.

Cross-country interest in Travis Waller of Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif., cranked up a notch on Tuesday night as Bajakian issued a scholarship offer to the junior.

"I've been talking to coach Jake since January, and I think I've developed a good relationship with him," Waller told InsideTennessee. "Today, when they offered me I was like, ‘Whoa!' I was actually kind of surprised. I was like, ‘OK, wow!'

The communication between him and Bajakian has proved fruitful thus far as there's clearly a mutual interest.

"It's definitely a live conversation," the Scout four-star prospect said. "I feel like I can talk to him very comfortably. He's very open. He tells me if I have any questions to let him know. I really appreciate that a lot. I can talk to him. I've definitely developed a good relationship with him."

From Erik Ainge to Tyler Bray to Casey Clausen, west coast quarterbacks have a history of success and earned playing time on Rocky Top. Waller said the distance is no issue: "It's not a factor; it doesn't really matter to me."

On the flip side, the right-hander says the visits he takes to college campuses will help him make his decision. Outside of Tennessee, Waller has eight other scholarship offers: Arizona, BYU, Colorado, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Penn State, Utah and Washington.

The No. 20 quarterback in the nation indicated that a summer trip to Knoxville is "definitely" in the works.

Servite's head coach is A.J. Gass, who is in the Servite Athletic Hall of Fame, was All-WAC at Fresno State before winning a pair of Grey Cup championships with the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League. The wife of Gass has family in Maryville, Tenn., and the couple visit the Volunteer State from time to time.

"It is my second SEC offer but once I visit I think it can feel like home," Waller said. "My coach told me a lot about Tennessee and it's just a great area. Everybody loves football around there. He said he could definitely see me at Tennessee, and I could see it for myself, too. It's a great opportunity."

While the Southeastern Conference is a draw to most positions on the football field, quarterbacks tend to concentrate more on coaching.

"Any league would be fine with me," Waller said. "The tempo of offense doesn't really matter to me. I've been talking to some schools that are more Pro-Style, but I've been doing a lot under center in the offseason. So, that doesn't really affect me what style offense it is."

The dual-threat quarterback says he has not been timed in the 40-yard dash but is confident with his speed: "One thing is for sure, If I'm in open space, I'll tell you one thing, I'll be gone for sure."

Rated the seventh-best junior quarterback in California, the 6-foot-3, 188-pounder has earned praise from experienced recruiting analysts for his progress this spring.

"I think I stack up really well," said Waller, who mentions Robert Griffin III as a comparative triggerman. "Last season, my accuracy was a little off. I've been going out and training with my quarterback coach and now after these past camps, I feel like I can be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation."

As is the case with most top quarterbacks in modern times, a verbal declaration is expected to come months before Waller signs a National Letter of Intent.

"My plan was to commit before the season, but I'm trying to plan it out right now," he said. "That's not for sure yet. I'll probably decide by late June."

Waller plans to take the ACT in June but carries a 3.8 grade point average. He plans to major in something in the advertising and marketing field. Servite is a private school that does not allow students to graduate at midyear.

Discuss Waller'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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