Smith: 'I just love Tennessee'

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Citing "academics and a great chance to start," Austin Smith made his declaration to play for Tennessee on Saturday.

The Scout three-star prospect and No. 35-rated outside linebacker in the 2015 signing class is the Volunteers' 15th pledge of the group.

"Sometimes most plans don't work but this is one of those deals that worked out and I picked the right college hopefully and Tennessee is the way to go, Rocky Top!" said Smith, who measures in at 6 feet 3, 220 pounds.

The Buford (Ga.) High School 'backer arrived on Rocky Top on Thursday to get a head start on the "Orange Carpet" event and won't leave until Sunday.

"I've been hanging out with the players a lot," said Smith, who had to reschedule a visit earlier this month to take the ACT. "They're some crazy dudes. I've also been touring the facilities and all of that stuff."

Smith's mother has favored the Big Orange for much of the process and appears quite pleased her son is heading to Knoxville.

"She broke into tears," Austin Smith said. "I was like, 'Mom don't cry right now. It's kind of embarrassing, I'm not going to lie to you.' She was very happy. She said it's the right decision. She likes Tennessee a lot. I'm just happy, I'm real happy."

Running backs coach Robert Gillespie initiated the recruiting process on Tennessee's end with the three-star.

"(Gillespie) is everything you want in a person," Smith said. "Great guy. Doesn't lie. He told me, 'We need you, we want you. You're one of the best guys we're after right now and have a great chance at starting. I'm not going to lie to you, it's going to be hard.' I said, 'Coach, I know. It's not supposed to be easy. It's the SEC now.' I just love Tennessee. Very excited."

Defensive tackle Quay Picou is a teammate of Smith at Buford and quickly became commitment No. 16 on Saturday as well. Smith is looking forward to seeing Picou with him in Knoxville.

"It will be real fun — fun and funny at the same time. It's be great," Smith said.

Picou and Smith join Knoxville-based athlete Jocquez Bruce, three-star quarterback Quinten Dormady and four-star running back Alvin Kamara as Tennessee commitments to come down this June.

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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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