Making his first visit to see Tennessee’s campus over the weekend was Amir Riep.
The coaches in Knoxville see the Scout four-star prospect as a cornerback that could provide a boost of talent in the secondary of the future. They showed Riep how much they value his skills when hosting the junior at an invite-only event Saturday.
“I liked it a lot,” Riep told InsideTennessee. “I liked everything, I liked the facilities. It reached expectations that everyone’s been telling me about.
“The (Peyton Manning) Locker Room, the (Shields-Watkins) Field, just everything (stuck out). I liked it a lot.”
Riep said he wanted to show interest in a program that showed interest in him and find out if he could find comfort in potentially playing for the Volunteers.
“I’m most definitely coming back,” the Scout No. 1-rated cornerback in Ohio said. “I’m not sure (when).”
Riep speaks often with Tennessee defensive backs coach Willie Martinez but also sat down Saturday with coach Butch Jones and new defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. The message from Vols coaches is “just coming in and if I do all the right things, just being a playmaker on defense.”
Riep has a list of what impressed him the most about Tennessee.
“The energy level of everyone here,” he said. “The coaches, how they’re family based, I like how they call their teammates their sons, just everything. It just feels right.”
The No. 29 cornerback in the 2017 class has already visited five schools, including Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and now Tennessee.
“There’s not a favorite right now. Just looking at everything,” he said.
“I’m looking for a school that’s a home away from home that I can bond with the coaches, the players, a family atmosphere and without the sport of football just enjoy myself in school.”
The Cincinnati native resides in Big Ten country and ranks as the No. 2 cornerback in the Midwest, however, he views the Southeastern Conference in high regard.
“I think it’s a great conference,” Riep said. “There’s competition every game, big competition, big crowds to play in front of. I think highly of the SEC.”
Nathan Niehaus competed for Colerain (Ohio) High School alongside Riep last fall and signed with Tennessee in February.
“Being on the same team, that’s my brother,” Riep said, “but I’m not going to pick a school because someone else is coming here. It’s just how it fits me.
“(Niehaus) told me I was going to love it.”
Riep is unsure of when he will take more college visits. He plans to make a verbal declaration prior to his final high school season and to enroll in college in January.
In 2015, the 6-foot, 188-pounder totaled 55 tackles (40 solo) with seven interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.