BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Tylin Oden ’s junior highlight film gets started with an 80-yard touchdown run — that’s 80 on the stat sheet but 90-plus as defenders drove him beyond and wide of the pocket before a scramble-and-sprint house call.
“I couldn’t believe I did it,” said Oden, a quarterback at Spring Hill (Tenn.) High School.
That type of playmaking ability got the Class of 2016 prospect a scholarship offer from the Tennessee Volunteers back in December.
“There’s so many things,” Oden said of his affection for the Orange & White. “I love coach Jones. I love what he’s doing to that program. I love that it’s my home state. I love the offense also and the fan base, too.”
The Big Orange is not the only Power 5 conference school to offer Oden as Georgia Tech, Louisville and Kentucky pulled the trigger as well. In spite of liking so much about Tennessee, he said he has no top school.
“Not really, just enjoying what they’re telling me,” Oden said. “There’s no favorites or anything.”
One staff is undoubtedly recruiting Oden harder than the rest.
“Oh, probably Tennessee. Tennessee, most definitely,” the right-hander said.
Mike Bajakian was Tennessee’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Oden got the offer. Now Bajakian is off to work with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, replaced by Mike DeBord. The coaching change didn’t slow down communication from Knoxville to Spring Hill.
“No, not at all. I heard from coach (Nick) Sheridan the other day and then I talked to coach Z maybe four days ago,” Oden said.
The main playcaller on The Hill may be different but Oden isn’t expecting the offensive philosophy to change much.
“I doubt it. I doubt it, especially with the type of athletes that they have now. I don’t think the offense will change any,” he said.
“They didn’t really tell me too much that I didn’t already know because I watch Tennessee a lot.”
Tennessee entered the new year with just one scholarship quarterback on its roster, Joshua Dobbs. However, Quinten Dormady, Jauan Jennings and Sheriron Jones joined the Volunteers as members of the 2015 class. Committed in the 2016 class is Scout four-star Austin Kendall. Depth chart could be a concern for Oden.
“I mean yeah. I’m not going to lie to you. It would. I would definitely like to know who’s in front of me. Then again, it’s a challenge. I come up to challenges, and I accept challenges.”
The 6-foot-5, 180-pounder has athleticism that could translate to wide receiver but Oden is “real bad, more than anything” planning on staying at field general.
“I work butt off trying to get better at it. So, I definitely want to stay at quarterback,” said Oden who totaled 1,947 yards of offense with 28 touchdowns as a junior.
“I can run. I’ve got a real strong arm. I can keep the defenses guessing. Playmaker. That’s one thing, I make plays. I make something out of nothing. That’s what I do.”
Quarterbacks more and more often “love the gun” and Oden is no different. He says he fits the Tennessee offense, which he saw on display at Vanderbilt in late November.
Don’t expect the mid-state talent to decide on a college anytime soon.
“It’s going to be awhile from now,” Oden said. “Right now I just want to enjoy everything and see what’s coming to me.
Enrolling into school in January 2016 may not be an option.
“I would want to, but I don’t know if I can,” Oden said. “One of my coaches was telling me I don’t think our county (Maury) lets you graduate early.”