Photo by Danny Parker

Tennessee targeting LaTrell Bumphus more than other schools

Tennessee's top tight end talks his defensive position as the Vols recruit him along the defensive line.

BUFORD, Ga. — LaTrell Bumphus receives near-constant contact from a host of schools who want him to join their program, but one place has given him more attention than most recently.

The Scout three-star prospect who plays both tight end and on the defensive line has one coach who courts him the hardest.

"Tennessee's been talking to me the most lately," Bumphus told InsideTennessee at The Opening Atlanta in March. "(I've been talking to) coach (Steve) Stripling, the defensive line coach, the most. He's just telling me they want me up there and they think if I get up there, I can play my first year." 

As the Vols focus on keeping a growing homegrown crop of recruits in the sate of Tennessee, Bumphus — a Savannah native — would continue that trend. The Hardin County High School two-way standout ranks as Tennessee's No. 1 tight end in the 2017 class, but he's being recruited by the Vols to play weakside defensive end. Bumphus visited Knoxville for a March 5 junior day, getting a tour of the campus and facilities, speaking with current players like Kahlil McKenzie, Charles Mosley and Todd Kelly Jr., and attending Tennessee's win over LSU in Thompson-Boling Arena.

"I'm looking for the best fit and how they treat me, and academics," Bumphus told InsideTennessee. "I've been up (to Tennessee) twice. It was great. They treated me like family. We saw the facilities and hung out with the players and got to know the coaches and stuff. We even went to the basketball game."

The decision will be a tough one, as Bumphus already holds offers from top college programs like Oregon and USC, among others, but he doesn't have any immediate visits planned. His offer list ballooned to 17 schools recently, which is fitting for a rising prospect who prides himself on the speed and get-off he was able to showcase in front of scouts and analysts at The Opening Atlanta. 

"You get a lot (of out these camps)," Bumphus said. "You get a lot from all these great coaches, and you're also going up against some of the top people in the country." 

Tennessee heavily inserted itself into the rising senior's recruitment process, something Butch Jones and his staff hope will play a role as Bumphus continues to look around the country for the best fit. Until then, the the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder plans on making as many treks across the country as possible in search of the program he'll call home at the college level."

"I plan on visiting as many as I can and then go from there, and then talking with the coaches, talking it over with my mom and dad and brother and stuff," Bumphus said. 

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