Christian Colon sported bright shorts and a glistening diamond stud earring at The Opening Charlotte Saturday, but his appearance wasn’t the only reason he stood out. The Scout three-star defensive tackle, showing off in his hometown, dominated opposing offensive linemen in individual drills with his quick hands and powerful release at one of Nike’s four May high school combines.
While Colon didn’t participate in the SPARQ testing to start the day, he did showcase his talent against some of the best offensive linemen in the region during the drill portion of the combine. The solid showing came just two weeks after North Carolina’s second-ranked defensive tackle in the 2016 class visited Tennessee for the 2015 Orange and White Game.
“It was great. I got a chance to chill with the players like Shy Tuttle … and Marquez North, a former North Carolina guy,” Colon said of the visit. “They basically took me in. I got to walk around campus with them, chill with them for a bit.”
Colon’s presence on campus represented a microcosm of the elite defensive line talent the Vols have been able to acquire in recent months. The 6-3, 303-pound senior joined Tuttle and Scout’s No. 1 overall 2015 recruit Kahlil McKenzie for a spring game that left Colon impressed.
Like the others, the Independence High School star experienced a small taste of the trappings that come with life on the gridiron in Knoxville. It was one he didn’t mind lingering around long after the last fans had shuffled through Neyland Stadium.
“You’re signing autographs as soon as you walk out the game, signing autographs walking to the game. The fans know about you before you even get up to campus,” he said.
“I went to the game. The game was cool. Great fan atmosphere and all that. Tennessee left a good taste.”
Tennessee special teams coach Mark Elder and defensive line coach Steve Stripling have tag-teamed the four-star talent’s recruitment as the Vols get closer to offering him. Colon talks with Elder at least once a week and updates Stripling on his status about every month.
“Elder’s just checking in and Stripling’s just seeing who else has been talking to me, what have I been doing to work out and stuff like that, when am I going to come back to the campus,” Colon said. “They just want me to come back for a visit.”
It’s no surprise why. Colon's impressive showing at The Opening Charlotte coupled with his film have schools stacking up to grab his talents. The senior said Stripling is coming to watch him work out in person Wednesday and is hopeful he’ll receive a Vols offer soon after. Colon plans to narrow down an offer list that right now includes North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi State to five teams by the end of June, telling InsideTennessee he will commit on November 6. Until then, the No. 56 overall defensive tackle in this upcoming class is waiting for the Vols to officially pull the trigger and extend an offer.
“That other schools know who you are, it's really big, and then (Tennessee) is two, three hours away from Charlotte,” Colon said. “It’s big. It’s a top SEC program.”