Tee Higgins staying home; Vols get 4-star WR

Another day. Another major boost for the future of Tennessee football. Tee Higgins declared his intentions Monday night to play his college football for the Volunteers. Read more from the Scout four-star prospect.

All aboard! Next stop: Rocky Top.

Tee Higgins got the coaching staff at Tennessee bouncing at the Anderson Training Center on Monday as the Oak Ridge (Tenn.) High School wide receiver informed coach Butch Jones & Co. that he got his ticket punched to deliver his game to the Big Orange.

"They were all happy, all happy," Higgins told InsideTennessee. "I called them. I actually told coach Jones first.

"It feels really good. I decided just today."

The Vols were the school of choice over scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State and South Carolina.

Playing close to home isn't always much of a factor for prospects but the Scout No. 37 prospect in the 2017 class and No. 6 receiver in the nation is fond of his mother having a short drive to see him play Southeastern Conference football, saying it's "easy for my my Mom to come watch me play — and my family."

Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni played a key role in getting the Volunteer State's No. 1-rated pass catcher to stay home.

"(Azzanni) is a great guy," said Higgins, who also holds a scholarship offer to play basketball at Tennessee for coach Rick Barnes. "It's going to be absolutely fun to play under him. I'm just going to have a great time, I already know."

The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder's declaration comes one day after Scout four-star prospect and Midwest Region No. 1-rated quarterback Hunter Johnson pledge to the Vols. Higgins told IT that one didn't have much to do with the other.

"Not really," said Higgins, noting that the two shook hands at the Orange & White game back in late April. "But, hey, a great quarterback, why not play for him?"

Between Higgins and Johnson, the Big Orange already has commitments from two of Scout's top 50 players in the 2017 class. The wideout said he "definitely" will be recruiting for the Orange & White.

In the first game of his junior season Friday, Higgins caught three passes for 57 yards, including two touchdowns (23, 30), in Oak Ridge's 24-13 win over Clinton.

Oak Ridge (12-1) fell in the 2014 TSSAA Class 5A state quarterfinals to then-undefeated Rhea County 35-21. In his sophomore finale while dealing with a sprained knee, Higgins caught six passes for 145 yards.

The first home game for the Volunteers is versus Oklahoma on Sept. 12. The top-ranked junior receiver in the Volunteer State said "hopefully soon" he will be back on campus.

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