Dobbs’ backup, Quinten Dormady, was nailing targets left and right, and Jones made sure his starter knew it by using his microphone to broadcast it to the announced 63,016 in attendance. With his coach bellowing in his ear as motivation, Dobbs delivered with a better score to both win the event and show Brown — a Scout four-star hybrid linebacker/defensive end from Charlotte — the comfortable relationship the current coaches and players have developed with each other at Tennessee.
“It just shows how interactive he is with his players and how down to earth he is as a coach,” Brown said of the moment. “It just shows you how cool the players are with the coaches and the coaches are with their players."
The 6-2, 215-pound Mallard Creek star finally got a semblance of game-day life in Knoxville and raved about his experience inside Neyland Stadium for Tennessee’s 2015 spring game.
“They have an amazing, almost second to none game environment, and you can see that,” Brown said. “With this just being the spring game, I can only imagine the Alabama game or something like that. It’s a pretty amazing place to be.”
He might not have to imagine it. The No. 2-ranked defensive end in North Carolina said he “definitely” plans to come back to Tennessee for a game this fall.
Getting him to commit to anything further than that will be the challenging part for the Vols. Brown has been a Florida State verbal commitment since September of last season, but after what he saw that day the four-star prospect is hoping to learn more about the program that is intensely recruiting his services.
“They recruit me the hardest,” Brown said of the Vols. “It basically is just telling me how much they want me. (Special teams) Coach (Mark) Elder hits me up almost all the time. It just shows consistency in coaching.”
The Tennessee coaching staff likely wants Brown to play both on the line and as a linebacker, similar to the role of current Vol Curt Maggitt, as Brown has said he enjoys rushing the passer and playing in coverage. His commitment to the Seminoles and heavy recruitment by Tennessee are also being challenged by Alabama and South Carolina, two programs Brown said are coming after him almost as hard.
But the festive ambiance of the spring game coupled with the team’s ability to relate to Brown has impressed the rising senior.
“(I like) the way the coaches treat the players," Brown said. “Of course, I know plenty of players on the team so they tell me a lot about the program, how much they enjoy it. It’s SEC football as well.”
Along with the Vols, Brown plans to take even more visits to the dozen or so schools that have offered him despite his Florida State pledge.
“I told the coaches, I only get one chance to take visits and stuff. If I didn’t take visits, I would regret it when I was older,” Brown said. “I don’t want to have to deal with that when I’m a grown man and stuff like that, so I’m taking advantage of my opportunities."
InsideTennessee managing editor Danny Parker contributed to this story.