Unofficial visits lay the groundwork for recruits. They allow them to truly get to know who and what may surround them in their collegiate careers.
Rutger Reitmaier got that much deeper into Tennessee football by taking part in a recent junior day this month.
“I was going into it looking to just build better relationships with the coaches,” Reitmaier told InsideTennessee. “I did that. I wound up talking to them all. It was just a good day to build some relationships and talk to them.”
Convincing Reitmaier to strap on the white Riddell helmet with the Power T decal is a task that stems from head coach Butch Jones to defensive line coach Steve Stripling to linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen to defensive graduate assistant Nathan Ollie.
“I spent a good amount of time with everyone — coach Strip, coach Thigpen, coach Ollie, coach Jones. I was able to spend a majority of time with all of them and it was good,” the Scout three-star prospect said.
Reitmaier had already been up and down the halls of the Anderson Training Center and walked on Robert White Indoor Field. The Vols coaches still managed to turn over new leaves.
“I’ve been there previous times, so I kind of knew how the day was going to go,” the Lipscomb Academy junior said. “I really liked it because I learned a little bit more about the academic side of stuff. I got to meet more players and stuff.
“I was also able to talk to coach Jones a little bit more. It was a good time.
“I was able to hang out with Jack Jones, Jashon Robertson, Josh Dobbs, just a couple more that were there — Coleman Thomas. It was good to see how close they all are and kind of understand the camaraderie that they all share.”
Reitmaier both got an idea of the pageantry of college football and felt orange and white threads against his skin, trying on a Tennessee jersey in Peyton Manning Locker Room inside Neyland Stadium.
“I picked up jersey No. 73 because that’s the number I wear right now,” Reitmaier said. “I always like doing that, and then we were able to walk out the tunnel and hit the sign going out. I love doing that stuff.”
“I would say they have a little bit of an edge over Duke right now,” Reitmaier said. “So, it’s Tennessee, Duke and Vanderbilt. I would say Tennessee has a little bit of an edge over Duke.”
The invite-only Saturday on The Hill was laden with Volunteer State recruits, including the South No. 2-rated offensive tackle Trey Smith of Jackson. Events like that one are where relationships between players from different regions can forge.
“I started to talk to Trey Smith a little bit,” Reitmaier said. “He was with Jack as well, and I was able to hang out with him a little bit. That’s the first time I’ve talked to him the most.”
The D-tackle has quite a bit of traveling ahead. He visited Vanderbilt last weekend and plans to check out Duke, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and West Virginia. One day already scheduled is Penn State on April 9. A return trip to Knoxville is expected as well.
“I think we’re going to try to get up there for a spring practice. No particular date yet. And hopefully the spring game (on April 16). I’ve got to get my Mom up there soon,” said Reitmaier, who added offers from Army and the Gamecocks last week.
Reitmaier will both see kinfolk and compete against some of the East’s top prospects at The Opening New Jersey at the New York Jets facility on May 1.
“It’ll be good because I’ll get to see some of my family that I haven’t seen in awhile,” Reitmaier said.