When a prospect and his family make numerous visits to a program out of state on their own dime, chances are staff has a legitimate chance at signing its target.
Tennessee has Blake Vinson’s attention. The North Marion (Fla.) High School made his way to Knoxville as recently as the second week of December.
“Obviously, I’m very interested in Tennessee,” Vinson told InsideTennessee. “Actually been up (to visit Tennessee) five times to visit in 2015. I came up in the spring and the beginning of the summer also.
“My mom is from Chattanooga, and I have a lot of family who lives in Tennessee. I really like the coaches and all the time they’ve spent to get to know me. I just feel like I fit in well in that program. I just like the atmosphere and the environment around that program.”
Third-year Tennessee coach Butch Jones communicates with the Scout 300 member and Vols recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie has aided in the hunt. Offensive line coach Don Mahoney is on the horn with Vinson the most.
“I really like coach Mo,” said Vinson, who holds 22 offers with 20 from Power 5 schools. “Every time we talk he just wants to know what’s going on, how my week went. He says they’re really high on me; I’m one of the top O-linemen on their board right now and that I can commit whenever I want and they’ll always have a spot for me.”
“They definitely sold me on the tradition behind Tennessee and just kind of how the whole team operates, how it’s kind of like a family atmosphere and a team, just how everybody’s comfortable in the locker room and everything.“
Other than Tennessee, the No. 32-ranked offensive tackle in the 2017 class hears the most from Auburn, Clemson and Florida as well as Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, Ole Miss and West Virginia. Those eight are “all recruiting me pretty hard.”
Vinson, whose favorite player is J.J. Watt, plans to check out junior days at Auburn and Clemson in January.
The Scout four-star prospect’s junior season came to a close in the second round of the 2015 FHSAA Class 5A state playoffs even though North Marion scored 58 points. Clay outlasted them by putting 68 points up. The teams combined for 50 first-quarter points.