When the countdown to National Signing Day reaches single digits, recruiting zealots can hardly stand it.
For the players like Landon Dickerson, it’s a finality to a process. The Scout four-star prospect is just days away from putting ink to paper with a National Letter of Intent.
Before doing so, the offensive lineman made the 188-mile trip to 1 Phillip Fulmer Way in an official capacity.
Dickerson said the reason for visiting Tennessee for a 10th time was “getting back and seeing the coaches before signing day.”
The message Vols coaches have had for him has always maintained consistency: “I mean nothing unusually odd about it. They really want me. Other than that…that’s really it. ‘Come play at Tennessee.’”
The Scout No. 76 player in the 2016 class and the Tar Heel State’s third-rated talent has substantial faith in the direction coach Butch Jones has Tennessee going. The Volunteers finished the 2015 season with a 9-4 record, including a Outback Bowl trophy.
“I really think they’re on the rise,” said the Scout No. 1 offensive guard in the South. “I went up there and I saw them win two weeks in a row (versus North Texas and South Carolina). It was just a great experience.”
Dickerson admits that fellow All-Americans and Tennessee commits such as quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and cornerback Marquill Osborne have stayed on him.
“That just shows how much they believe in the program there,” he said.
The best blocker in the Tar Heel State says Tennessee has a “very good Engineering program,” which is important to Dickerson and his future.
In deciding between Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee, Dickerson seeks an offense that suits his skills. At South Caldwell (N.C.) High School, the Scout four-star prospect didn’t kick slide much.
“Where I go to school, we run the ball, we don’t pass it,” Dickerson said.
He wants to pull, run and get out in space to make blocks. However, he’s not quite certain if there’s a perfect position for him.
“That’s a hard one to answer because each school is going to depend on their offense,” Dickerson said. “It’s just going to vary really.
“I’m not looking for a specific offense necessarily as much as I am to be an active lineman more than just a sit in pass pro kind of guy.”
Tennessee offensive line coach Don Mahoney stayed on the 6-foot-5, 306-pounder for roughly a year. That relationship helped the Vols reach Dickerson’s top 3.
“It’s good,” Dickerson said. “I call (Mahoney) 2-3 times a week just to talk to him about anything and everything.
“I don’t know how to describe him; coach Mahoney is obviously a really nice guy. He’s got that nice personality. I do really like that.”
Reflecting on his time in Orlando going up against some of the country’s best during Under Armour week, Dickerson said he was “pretty solid” and it was a “pretty good gauge of just telling where I am.”
“Obviously all these defensive linemen aren’t going to the same university,” Dickerson said. “They’re the best of the best for a reason.
“There are a few things to fix here and there, especially being mainly a tackle at those events and dealing with a lot more speed guys and I played tackle this year. Dealing with the 6-foot, 300-pound guys is a little different mixup than what I’m used to but I mean it’s something you have to adjust to obviously.”