NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Steam rose from his lathered head. Hand shakes and high-fives came aplenty.
Daniel Bituli clocked in to help Nashville Christian defeat Wayne County 34-21 on Friday, providing aid on both sides of the footballl. The Scout four-star linebacker prospect’s look didn’t include much emotion as he lacks two more victories from accomplishing his championship goal.
“It’s a great feeling to know that my team and I can go another round,” Bituli told InsideTennessee. “I’m just happy we can get through this game, get a ‘W.’ From here on, we just have to prepare for Peabody. We can’t stay comfortable. We’ve just got to keep working like it’s the first of the season.
“We really need to improve on offense. Our defense started to step it up in the second half, but we did awful on offense. We’ll fix that.”
The Scout No. 9-rated linebacker in the 2016 class and top-ranked senior in the Volunteer State didn’t want to say much about his orange-clad future. Eyes on the prize.
“I did commit to Tennessee but right now I’m an Eagle. I’m not a Vol yet until I sign the papers,” he said.
Communication with Vols coach Butch Jones and lead recruiter Tommy Thigpen stays consistent: “I hear from them weekly.”
“They’re excited to get me down there and stuff like that. It’s humbling. I’m thankful for it,” said Bituli, who verbally committed on July 18.
Bituli, who doesn’t plan to enroll on Rocky Top until Summer 2016, is a Tennessee Titans Class 1A Mr. Football finalist. The hardware gets handed out next week at Nissan Stadium.
“I’m grateful for it, but I just want to get my team a state championship. That’s where my mind is at right now,” he said.
The Eagles (12-1) host Peabody (11-2) for a 1A semifinal on Friday night at 7 p.m. Central.
“We just have to finish stronger, come out with a big bang and hopefully we’ll be able to get the game done next week,” the ‘backer said.
Bituli ran for 95 yards with three rushing touchdowns to go with four solo tackles in Nashville Christian's season-ending 42-34 loss to Union City in the 2014 semis.
The 1A state championship game is at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville on Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. Central. Bituli would love nothing more than to help his teammates hoist a gold ball at midfield and bring it back to the Music City.
“It’d mean the world,” Bituli said. “I just want to a smile on all these people’s faces. It’d be amazing.”