Rontavius Groves getting Vols' family feel

Nashville is home to the No. 2-rated wide receive in the Volunteer State's 2016 signing class. Can Tennessee coaches convince Rontavius Groves to make Knoxville his next stop? Sign in for more.

The scheduled 2016 Tennessee roster has vacancies at slot receiver.

Rontavius Groves signing with the Volunteers would go a long way toward hanging a “no” sign in front of “vacancy.”

The Pearl-Cohn High School junior has reciprocal interest in an orange-clad future. Groves visited for a junior day this spring to get a closer look.

“I mean it’s like a family atmosphere,” Groves told InsideTennessee. “I feel like I’m at home when I’m up here. The fans are crazy. You know what to expect when you go to the game.”

A potential future head coach and position coach gave Groves the rundown on how they see him working into the Vols’ roster.

“I sat down with (Tennessee wide receivers) coach (Zach) Azzanni and coach (Butch) Jones,” Groves said. “They were just telling me how I would fit in and how I would play a role if I came up here.

“I pretty much talked to all the coaches but those two told me the gameplan if I was to come up here (to Knoxville) and how I’d fit in. We watched a couple videos. They showed the ‘Receiver U’ video, so that was nice.”

Zach Azzanni
(Danny Parker/

More specifically, the Nashville native believes he could fill the shoes of rising senior Alton Howard: “I feel like I can play the slot, and I can play the outside as well.”

Stockpiling wide receiver talent this recruiting cycle is essential. Azzanni continues to make that known to recruits, including the Scout three-star prospect.

“(Azzanni) was just like, ‘Man, we’ve got such and such people leaving, both of the slots one and two are leaving. So the spot is wide open.’ It’s just for me to come in and take it.’

“That’s a huge deal to me because I want to come in and make an impact as a freshman. Hearing that really is big.”

Groves, who was in attendance to see Tennessee host Florida last October, has 16 scholarship offers with Penn State and Pittsburgh being two who jumped on board most recently. Kentucky and Louisville speak to Groves about potentially playing defensive back.

Tennessee will “most definitely” be a contender to land the No. 2-rated wideout in the Volunteer State’s 2016 class.

“They’re up there; it’s pretty nice,” Groves said. “It’s home. It’s Tennessee. I’m from Tennessee, so that plays a big factor. And there’s like a home atmosphere. I feel home when I’m here.”

"I want to come in and make an impact as a freshman." — Rontavius Groves

A decision could be coming “midseason or right after the season. I ain’t gonna wait too long. You can’t keep them waiting forever.”

Groves says he seeks a school that allows him to be “coming up and being able to play and being somewhere I can feel like I’m at home, somewhere I feel like I can produce and get the right type of treatment and the right type of equipment to succeed the best.”

The 5-foot-11, 171-pounder likely isn’t done adding offers and plans to earn more in the coming months, camping at Florida State and USC.

“I’m still weighing all my options,” said Groves, who competes for the same high school that produced Tennessee All-America defensive tackle John Henderson.

The Southern California fan believes the Trojans staff may come with a scholarship offer this spring.

“I feel like they’re going to pull the trigger soon; I’ve been talking with them,” said Groves, who admits admiring former Trojan runner Reggie Bush and former Vol pass-catcher Donte Stallworth.

“The distance doesn’t really play a role but I’ve just got to look into every detail. Just growing up liking them is not going to play a big role. I just want to get the offer. It’s a dream offer that I want to have, but it’s not like once I get the offer I’m going to commit or anything.”

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