Austin Connor sees Vols as 'best of both worlds'

One of South Carolina's best wide receivers discusses his recent Tennessee visit and where the Vols stand in his recruitment.

The best part of Austin Connor's visit to Tennessee on April 2 wasn't just what he saw on his trip, but where he saw it. The Scout three-star wide receiver spent much of his time touring campus and the Vols' elaborate facilities, something that left an impression on him from the time he walked into the Anderson Training Center to the second he stepped outside to leave.

"Just seeing this whole building," Connor said of his favorite part of his recent visit. "It's just really nice. Everything here is just beautiful. I heard things, but I had to see it for myself." 

The Dutch Fork (S.C.) High School standout has Tennessee in his top 5, along with Duke, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia Tech, and the visit helped solidify the Vols' place on his list. Connor was able to log one-on-one time with his area recruiter, defensive line coach Steve Stripling, and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who told him he would be a nice fit at the slot in the Vols' passing game.

"They've been in my top 5, so I had to come check them out," said Connor, who received a scholarship offer from Tennessee on March 11. "I talked with coach Stripling — that's my recruiting coach for my area — and I talked with coach Z (Azzanni), of course." 

The No. 2-ranked wide receiver in the Palmetto State's 2017 class watched film with Azzanni and discussed his potential role as a shifty slot receiver who could potentially play early for Tennessee. Connor is known as being a physical wideout unafraid to make a catch in traffic, much like current Tennessee wideout Josh Smith.

"(Azzanni) said that they're kind of thin on the receiver side right now," Connor said. "They're trying to get as many receivers as possible. They said that the signing class they just had, they're going to have to play early too." 

Playing as soon as possible is attractive to Connor, who will be a senior at Dutch Fork next season. He also wants to find a home in the classroom, where he'll work toward an engineering degree. 

"I'm a big guy on academics," Connor told InsideTennessee. "Early playing time, I want to see if I can get early playing time. That, and the scheme of the offense and the quarterbacks (is what I'm looking for in a school)." 

The Top 100 receiver doesn't know yet if he'll enroll early or not or when he'll make his final decision, but Tennessee sits at a good place with him. When it comes to the Vols, Connor believes he can get both a good education and thrive in a program with national expectations for the first time in nearly a decade. 

"It's the best of both worlds," he said. "I could come here and get a good engineering degree and play DI football for one of the best teams in the nation."


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