Vols fighting to hold onto Venzell Boulware

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With Butch Jones saying Tennessee is a full recruiting class behind along the offensive front, incoming recruits like Venzell Boulware are essential.

The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder from Fairborn, Georgia, got plenty of chances to see just how badly the Volunteers need his help by watching Team 118 compete. Injuries and lack of experience forced Tennessee to shuffle its offensive line on several occasions in 2014.

“It’s just a very young, inexperienced O-line,” Boulware said. “It’s going to take some time to develop and create depth.”

Boulware made it to Rocky Top to see several games at Neyland Stadium last fall, including watching the Volunteers take on eventual Southeastern Conference champion Alabama in a 34-20 loss for the Orange & White.

“It was a great atmosphere; it’s the best one I’ve seen,” Boulware said.

The Scout three-star prospect and No. 40-ranked offensive guard committed to the Big Orange back on Aug. 23, 2014. He has not yet developed chemistry with the blockers that figure to be his teammates in Knoxville.

“No, I don’t know any of the O-linemen,” he said.

In 2013, Boulware teamed up with current Tennessee freshmen Elliot Berry and Evan Berry to get Creekside High School a GHSA state championship. The trio have remained friends and Boulware keeps an eye on the Vols legacies as they contributed on special teams Year 1.

“It’s just great seeing people you know and people that you’ve been around for a very long time and working hard with them, just seeing them come far,” Boulware said.

Offensive line coach Don Mahoney hasn’t let up his recruitment of Boulware to Knoxville.

“We talk every day,” Boulware said. “He’s a great O-line coach, he brings a lot of intensity. They’re just trying to get things done.”

While the Peach State’s No. 4-ranked guard says he’s 100-percent committed to Tennessee, contact with Ohio State has remained.

“I keep in touch with Ohio State still,” said Boulware, who is being recruited to the Buckeyes by Urban Meyer as well as cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs and offensive line coach Ed Warinner.

The guard will be dropped to “soft commitment” status by Scout with impending official visits. Boulware heads to Louisville on Jan. 16, to Ohio State on Jan. 23 and Tennessee on Jan. 31. That means the Big Orange will get final word before National Signing Day on Feb. 4.

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