If Tennessee football is able to get back to its glory days, one of the reasons it will accomplish the feat will be the pipeline of talent heading from the middle portion of the Volunteer State to Knoxville.
After signing elite prospects such as Derek Barnett, Jalen Hurd and Josh Malone in its 2014 class, Tennessee added another mid-state talent to the fold for its 2015 class as Vincent Perry pulled the trigger Wednesday.
"I want to play for (Tennessee) because I see the potential in them,” Perry told InsideTennessee. "I say that they are going to win the next 4-5 years. I want to be a part of a winning tradition and I can see that it is coming.
“I talked to all the players and they said that it's a pretty good program to be in. I have some friends that played like Michael Sawyers that played at Ensworth and I talked to Josh (Malone) and Jalen (Hurd) and a couple other kids. They said they liked it."
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder passed the news of his decision along to second-year coach Butch Jones and his staff Wednesday night.
“They were all excited,” the Nashville native said. “Coach said that it was a good pickup by me and stuff like that. They were all happy.”
The senior has been recruited by Tennessee as an athlete. Perry says he could see himself sliding into the role of a slot receiver. He works in the backfield in Hillsboro’s two-back set. He also contributes for the Burros as a cornerback.
The newest Tennessee commit list addition who says his game resembles that of former West Virginia star and St. Louis Rams playmaker Tavon Austin says his game is “electrifying.”
“There's no telling what I will do with the ball. I just want to win.”
He flew under the radar after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament earlier in his high school career. He’s not entirely sure when the injury occurred and says it may have happened while sliding into third base in a baseball game as a sophomore when he played for Pope John Paul II.
Perry, who says he’s going to play baseball at Tennessee and has spoken with coach Dave Serrano, also had to sit out a majority of his junior season due to TSSAA transfer rules after leaving Pope John Paul II for Hillsboro.
Linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen recruits the mid-state hard for the Orange & White and contributed heavily to bringing Perry to Knoxville.
“Coach Thigpen, he’s the realest coach ever,” Perry said with a laugh. “I love coach.”
Tennessee opened up its season with a 38-7 win over Utah State in front of a sellout crowd of 102,455 at Neyland Stadium back on Aug. 31. Perry was in attendance.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “It was very live. I like the environment—well, I always do when I go down there. I like the fans and how they support the team.”
Perry and Scout four-star defensive end Kyle Phillips have Hillsboro off to a 7-0 start, which has them ranked No. 6 in Class 5A in the latest Associated Press poll.
“We’re having a good season this year. We should win state,” Perry said.
The Burros are off this weekend. Look for Perry to head east to Rocky Top for an unofficial visit to see the Vols take on Chattanooga for homecoming.