Ryan Johnson comes home for Orange Carpet Day

For many recruits, Orange Carpet Day serves as a first real detailed look at Tennessee. For Ryan Johnson, it was a chance to come back home.

Ryan Johnson may as well be on Tennessee’s team already.

The Scout four-star offensive lineman and class of 2016 product pledged his commitment to the Vols last July and hasn’t waivered at all since. In fact, Johnson came back to campus for his second consecutive Orange Carpet Day experience Saturday, not to continue being recruited, but to help the coaches recruit.

“I got to talk to some of the linemen,” Johnson said after his visit. “I got to talk to Marcus (Tatum), Josh (Lugg). I got to talk to Jarrett (Guarantano), I know him but I got to talk to him again and hang out with him.”

The Brentwood Academy standout was able to get in the ear of two potential teammates and better know his future quarterback, whom has also taken up a position of makeshift recruiter since his commitment to Tennessee in April.

But perhaps the most pressing issue on Guarantano’s mind was about his future protector's meal plan.

“He made sure that I was still eating. He wanted to make sure I was still keeping my weight,” Johnson said with a laugh. “He was very concerned about that. We just hung out and we talked and had a good time. We talked about track and all sorts of stuff.”

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound rising senior surely hasn’t missed many meals, much to the relief of his new quarterback. With a budding relationship and unwavering pledges to the Vols, the two have become major players in Tennessee’s recruitment process during events like Orange Carpet Day.

“I’m glad I made an early decision so I can help recruit and get other players to come here so we can come here, get the best players and win championships, win rings,” Johnson said. “I want to rings. I want to win championships. That’s my goal.”

The No. 2-ranked offensive tackle in the Volunteer State has been coming to Knoxville since he was 3-years old and knows the landscape well, which helps both with his gradual transition to college and in his pitch to fellow prospects.

Johnson was able to mingle with recruits Saturday while playing putt-putt golf, tossing water balloons to the top of Neyland Stadium and standing in front of a green screen that took them across the globe.

By all accounts, his second Orange Carpet Day trip was a chance to visit the place he now calls home.

“It feels like home,” Johnson said. “Every time I come here I’m just so happy to be here, to hang out with the coaches and players. I really enjoy it and making more relationships."

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