Junior running back C.J. Freeman was another player on an unofficial visit yesterday to see the Volunteers whoop-up on the Cats. Freeman said it was the biggest game he has been to so far and that he loved the atmosphere of Neyland Stadium. 102,455 in attendance meant the fourth sell-out of the season and a fan base that is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel made for an impressive environment.
"I definitely see why people say Tennessee has one of the greatest fan bases in all of college football," Freeman said. "I mean it's SEC country, so I just really like the atmosphere overall."
While taking in the atmosphere of a packed house, Freeman was also taking mental notes on the Tennessee offense.
"I was definitely paying attention to the offense," the Northern Guilford junior said. "I like the way they ran the ball a lot with Jalen Hurd. I really like the set-up they had."
Tennessee runs an offense Freeman is familiar with and is the kind of scheme that has made him sought after. CJ said he runs a zone offense in high school so he would feel comfortable running a zone offense in college
"I definitely see that as an offense I could thrive under because it is the offense that I'm in right now at my high school."
Not only did Freeman have good things to say about the fans and the Tennessee offense in general but more specifically the guys he is in contact with, Willie Martinez and Robert Gillispie. Martinez has been in good communication with Freeman. As for GIllispie, Freeman says "He's a cool guy. He is someone I would definitely be comfortable with having as my coach. I like the way he does things with his running backs."
Freeman already has offers from Virginia Tech and South Carolina. He also stated that Auburn and Louisville are both coming after him hard as well. There was no question that Tennessee is in his top 5 now after Saturday's visit.
This Thursday Freeman is going to the Duke-North Carolina game and Saturday he is going back to South Carolina to see the Gamecocks take on South Alabama.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Greensboro native plans on going to a Louisville game and Vanderbilt game before the season is over. He'll only get to go to one as Louisville and Vanderbilt's last home game's are on the same day. Vanderbilt might want him to just head to Louisville considering Tennessee fans may turn Nashville orange.
From what Freeman said, he may not mind that at all as Tennessee fans showed him plenty of love this past weekend.
"The (Tennessee) fans really made it a good visit. I came on campus and it seemed like all the fans already knew who I was. I was walking down the tailgating and I had people calling out to me saying, 'Hey how you doing?'"
C.J. has another year of high school football to play but he has already put up some serious numbers in just 37 varsity games for Northern Guilford. Freeman has scored 33 touchdowns with 32 coming in the last two seasons. He is averaging over 7-yards per carry and will surpass 3,000 total yards early next season. Another addition at the running back position would not hurt at all if Tennessee wants to be serious playoff contenders. C.J. has made it clear that Vols fans are doing their part to sell him on taking the field in orange and white in a couple of years.
"It definitely gave me a good vibe. The fans are nice. The stadium is nice. For my first visit at Tennessee it was definitely a great time."