Vols make a move for E.J. Price

With the athleticism consistently making its way to the defensive end position in the Southeastern Conference, finding offensive tackles that can keep those edge rushers at bay is a priority. Sign in to read about the South's No. 3-rated bookend E.J. Price and his interest in the Big Orange.

For Tennessee to even have a chance to sign E.J. Price, it absolutely had to get the Scout four-star offensive tackle to campus this summer, impress him and earn a planned official visit.

Consider that mission accomplished.

The Archer (Ga.) High School standout and Scout No. 57 player in the nation took part in Tennessee’s Orange Carpet Day event on Saturday and it was eye-opening for the blocker.

“It was a great experience today,” Price said. “The Orange Carpet Day was an excellent experience. I got to talk to coach Butch Jones a lot, (offensive line) coach Don Mahoney. It was an excellent experience.”

The No. 1-rated tackle in the Peach State spent time one-on-one with Vols coaches, including the head man, in his first-ever Rocky Top trip.

“A lot of other recruits had visited campus and they told me how they loved it out here,” Price told InsideTennessee. “It was awesome. It was a great experience for me to be able to get out here. Next year, their tackles will be graduating. They’re in a good need for a tackle. Coach told me if I come in and work hard, there’s an opportunity that I can make an immediate impact here. That’s what I look forward to do. I understand nothing is going to be given to me regardless of our ranking in high school, but I definitely look forward to just coming in here or wherever I go and coming in and working hard and hopefully getting a starting spot my freshman year. Being that that’s going to be a need for them, that’s something that’s definitely interesting for me.”

Kyler Kerbyson is set for his fifth and final year in a Tennessee uniform. Another offensive tackle, Dontavius Blair, will take the field this fall for his fourth year in college. Tennessee will have an open spot at left guard after 2015 with Marcus Jackson being a fifth-year senior.

Price understands that time in the weight room could mean his playing very early in Knoxville.

“They like my size and stuff like that,” the 6-foot-6, 324-pounder said, “but of course my strength is going to have to catch up with the college guys. It’s going to be some growing pains, but they definitely feel if I come in here and get after it, I can definitely earn a starting spot in the fall hopefully.”

While many lineman are open to redshirting their first semester or two on campus, Price hopes to have the opportunity to get between the lines as a teenager.

Tennessee third-year assistant coach Don Mahoney's work on Price has the Volunteers in the race to land the four-star prospect.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)

“It would be great, it would be great,” Price said. “I’m not really sure if I’m going to be able to. I would love to start as a true freshman but if not I’m a football player at the end of the day. Some players want to go in and develop, but I love the game. I’m not just going to go to college to sit around. I would love to play as early as possible.”

The one-time Georgia commit seems to be looking at the Bulldogs, Auburn and Tennessee first and foremost with several other programs still in the mix.

“I’m going to be releasing my top schools probably soon before the season,” Price said. “Definitely some of the schools that are standing out: Tennessee is going to be a school that’s standing out, Auburn is standing out, Georgia they’ve always been up there with me, Florida State they’re another top school, and Michigan. I have a couple other schools (of interest). That’s not just it; we’ve got Texas A&M. So, it’s a lot of schools coming at me right now.”

Price and his Archer teammates like four-star wide receiver Kyle Davis and four-star junior cornerback Jamyest Williams lock in for the “acclimation period” prior to training camp and kick off their season versus North Pauling at McEachern High on Aug. 21.

With the need to concentrate on prep football, Price expects his next visits to campuses will be of the official variety.

“I will probably take an official to the Tennessee-Oklahoma game,” he said.

As of now the plan for Price is to graduate in May, but he is looking into what it will take to graduate in December and enroll in college in January.

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