BUFORD, Ga. — Relationships, relationships, relationships.
If not for Larry Scott’s relationship with Tre McKitty, Tennessee would be hard-pressed to get strong consideration as a college destination from the Scout No. 2-rated tight end in the Sunshine State’s 2017 class.
Scott, the former Miami (Fla.) tight ends coach and interim head coach, is on Butch Jones’ staff in Knoxville and the former Hurricanes commit McKitty consistently hears about life on Rocky Top.
“Well a big push is that coach Larry Scott from Miami (Fla.) — the coach that I was committed to — is now at Tennessee,” McKitty told InsideTennessee. “Me and him have a great relationship. I talk to him almost every day and he’s keeping me strong about Tennessee.
“Our relationship, he’s been with me from the start. He was the second coach to offer me, so we’ve had a great relationship ever since then just talking to me almost every day.”
The Volunteers' top two tight ends caught a combined 31 passes for 418 yards and two touchdowns in 2015. Scott keeps McKitty informed about coordinator Mike DeBord's offense.
“Even from the team last year, I know they use their tight ends really well,” McKitty said. “(Scott) being there, I know he’s going to push you getting incorporated into the offense even more. So that’s exciting.”
The No. 20 tight end in the nation plans to trip to Rocky Top soon but has not set up travel plans.
“I’ve heard great things about Tennessee — one of the top campuses in the nation,” McKitty said. “So I just want to see what it’s all about, meet all the coaches and talk to everybody.”
Colorado, Georgia, Ohio State and USC all offered the athletic tight end within the last three weeks, however, he doesn’t not have a list of top schools.
One item Tennessee has in its favor over some is its inclusion in the Southeastern Conference.
“A lot of the schools I’m looking at are mostly SEC schools,” McKitty said. “You know the SEC is always on top.”
The Tampa native wasn’t at Raymond James Stadium to see the Orange & White pummel then-No. 13 Northwestern 45-6 in the Outback Bowl, but he did see the Volunteers practice leading up to the contest.
“It was great,” McKitty said. “They ran practice really well. I got to talk to some of the other coaches that are there (at Tennessee). It was a good time.”
IMG has one of the most talented training grounds in the nation with prospects from several states in to Bradenton, Florida, to train for their future. Practices are more competitive than a majority of high school games.
“It’s great,” McKitty said. “They’re all great guys, too. Everybody has a good attitude about it. The great talent every day in practice is just helping me become a better player.”
The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.75 seconds at The Opening Atlanta. His performance earned him an invite to July’s The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Oregon, with roughly 160 of the nation’s best football prospects.