For recruits—and there were many of them—visiting Neyland Stadium on Saturday for Tennessee’s game against Florida, those projected to the defensive side of the ball had to be encouraged by the Vols’ stifiling effort against the Gators.
That, combined with the truly unique gameday atmostphere, did a lot to impress Scout three-star Quarte Sapp.
Sapp, who’s rated by Scout as the nation’s No. 44 outside linebacker for the 2015 class, enjoyed his time in Knoxville.
“It was a great experience with all the fans,” the 6-foot-1 1/2, 200-pounder told InsideTennessee. “Nice atmosphere actually. I like how every third down (the fans) have their own little saying to get the defense going. I like it.”
Despite the stinging loss, the Vols-Gators matchup was quite the show for all prospects in attendence. Between the orange and white checkboard emulated by alternating sections in the stands and various personalized Jumbotron appearances made by rapper Lil Jon, Tennessee certainly built an enviable environment to host recruits.
"I think I can fit into this defense at weakside linebacker … I’m pretty sure I can fit in really good."
That wasn’t all, though. Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek orchestrated a dominating unit Saturday. There were multiple sacks, tackles for loss and interceptions. Jancek’s defense blanked Florida’s offense for three full quarters and only allowed one trip into the end zone.
Such a successful day was something Sapp took note of.
“They did a great job, particularly (Tennessee linebacker) A.J. (Johnson). (Tennessee cornerback Cameron) Sutton did a good job covering,” the 'backer said. “I think I can fit into this defense at weakside linebacker … I’m pretty sure I can fit in really good.”
Sapp, who stars for Milton High School out of Alpharetta, Georgia, has seemingly favored the Big Orange for some time now. Unfortunately for hopeful Vols fans, Sapp appears set on letting the recruiting process play out a while longer.
“They’re in my top schools,” Sapp said of Tennessee. “I can definitely say they’re in my top two. … Next week I’m going to Texas A&M for a visit then after that I’m going to release my top four schools. So, after that, kind of weigh it in. I only have one official (visit) planned so far. So after that we’ll just wait to see what happens.”
Sapp’s visit Saturday was an unofficial, and he says he plans on using one of his official visits on Tennessee later in the year. Other than the Vols and Aggies, he will try to see Michigan State on Nov. 8 for an unofficial visit and Miami (Fla.) after the season’s end.
As for who accompanies Tennessee in his top two schools? It appears Sapp wants to keep it a bit mysterious.
“I can’t say that,” Sapp said with a grin.