Kendall Bussey to Big Orange

Stay updated on the future of Tennessee football with a membership to Check out this story on Kendall Bussey Jr., who just made a public declaration.

Kendall Bussey Jr. had four hats on the table. The one he placed on his head was orange and white as the running back made the decision to play his college football at Tennessee.

The announcement came at the speedster's Newman High School in New Orleans late Friday afternoon.

"Up until this morning it was pretty much a coin flip, but I think I will be furthering my education at the University of Tennessee," Bussey said at his ceremony.

"I mean ever since I went up as 12 years old for a Junior Olympic track meet, and I just left Knoxville astonished. I never got why, but it always has a special place in my heart. Not many people are able to live out their dream, being able to go to their dream school and play for their dream school. I saw the opportunity, and I felt I had to seize it."

Bussey ranks by Scout as a three-star prospect, the No. 58 running back in the 2015 signing class and No. 5 positionally in Louisiana. He joins five-star signee Alvin Kamara and three-star soft commit Rocky Reid as backfield weapons on Tennessee's pledge sheet on a 26-deep class that moved up to No. 5 nationally in the Scout team recruiting rankings.

Running back became a major concern for coach Butch Jones and his staff the cycle not only with the upcoming graduation of seniors Marlin Lane and Devrin Young but also the dismissal of Treyvon Paulk and Justus Pickett and the transfer of Derrell Scott.

The 5-foot-9, 210-pounder was heading to Nebraska until Bo Pilini was fired as the Cornhuskers' head coach. Prior to that, Bussey was committed to Tulane.

"We've taken a lot of visits, and I've taken a lot of schools," said Bussey, who eliminated Indiana and Nebraska before Tennessee and Texas A&M were the finalists. "I've connected with a lot of coaches."

Leading the recruitment for the Aggies was former Tennessee recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph.

"It was very tough, but I think Tennessee is the place for me," Bussey said.

In 2014, Bussey ran for 1,240 yards and 28 touchdowns on 148 attempts. The sure-handed back also caught 33 passes for 514 yards with five scores. Two kickoff returns were also taken back for TDs. He missed the final two games for the Greenies in the LHSAA Division III state playoffs with a strained anterior cruciate ligament.

Newman made the state semifinals for the first time since 1991 when Peyton Manning was a sophomore. Without Bussey's help, the Greenies fell 55-35 to visiting Catholic.

"I've always known that Kendall would be a great person, student-athlete no doubt since he was born," Bussey's mother said. "I've always known there was something special just about the whole process, that it's truly a blessing from God and every day that I've had the opportunity to be an inspiration to him I take that opportunity. I know that he's going to take everything that we've instilled in him, and he's going to go very far."

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