Carlin Fils-Aime may be a Sunshine State product, but he will officially call the Volunteer State his next home in less than a week.
The Naples (Fla.) High School running back joined Tennessee’s list of commitments on July 30 and plans to sign a National Letter of Intent sending him to Rocky Top on Wednesday.
A unique bond with several Tennessee coaches was a huge factor in what sealed the deal for the Scout four-star prospect’s commitment to Team 120, and it started when Vols running backs coach Gillespie visited in the early recruiting process.
“Coach G reminds me of my freshman running back coach, coach Martin,” Fils-Aime told InsideTennessee. “Coach Martin and I have a really good bond. When coach G came down, he and I had spoken. I thought to myself that he and I could be really close. I took a visit there, and during my visit I spoke to (Tennessee) coach (Butch) Jones and in my head I thought, ‘Oh, he’s a really cool guy. I like him.’ So that kind of sealed the deal.”
Tennessee became even more familiar to the 5-foot-11, 175-pound running back when the Vols hired former Miami tight ends coach Larry Scott in early January. Scott gave Fils-Aime his Miami offer and the two have maintained a solid relationship ever since.
The Scout 300 member is also part of a group text message with other future Volunteers.
“Every single one of them are great guys,” Fils-Aime said. “They’re all really excited to come to Tennessee and play the best they can to make everyone happy — their teammates, coaches, families, really just everyone. They want to play the best that they can and have a great season and put Tennessee on the map.”
However, there is still one name in particular that he hopes will also be added to the roster next year, and that is Tyler Byrd, his adoptive brother.
“To have my brother go to the same school as I am would be really awesome,” Fils-Aime said. “It would be even better because that’s someone I’ve basically been with for some time of my life. I would love it.”
Byrd, a Scout four-star cornerback who has lived with Fils-Aime for several years now, is committed to Miami.
On Monday, Tennessee coaches Gillespie, Jones, Scott and Willie Martinez headed south to Naples for a visit with the two prospects. Fils-Aime described the visit as one that he wished could have lasted longer and he thoroughly enjoyed his time with the coaches.
They will be in Knoxville this weekend for official visits. Fils-Aime came to Rocky Top in the fall to see Tennessee play Oklahoma and South Carolina in Neyland Stadium.
“I remember the Oklahoma game was when they had broken the record for the loudest game and that was just…crazy,” the Scout No. 14 running back in the 2016 class said.
“(Tennessee fans) are really great people and they show a lot of love. It’s crazy, everyone is nice up there and they really just seem to want the best for everyone.”
Despite living in the state that is home to one of the Volunteers' biggest rivals, he has received lots from his friends and family back at home in Florida.
“Everyone is like, ‘Since you’re going to Tennessee, I’ll cheer for them,’ Now they’re liking it and have been watching more Tennessee games. They’re falling in love with it,” Fils-Aime said.