Christian Armstrong had an open-minded attitude when he visited Knoxville for the first time this spring for a junior day — yet he found that Rocky Top impressed him more than he ever expected.
Tennessee was the fourth school to offer the 6-foot-5, 309-pound offensive tackle whose talents have gained the interests of multiple schools across the Southeast over the past few months.
“(Tennessee is) doing a lot of work to make sure that the program gets back to the national prominence that it used to be, and I like that part,” the Scout four-star prospect said. “It was just a very nice experience for me.”
During his first visit on campus, the rising junior at Warner Robins (Ga.) High School had the opportunity to meet the Tennessee coaching staff and get a feel for how he might fit into the program, as well as visit the Anderson Training Center facilities that “wowed” him more than any other school facility that he had visited thus far.
“I had an open mind coming here. I just expected the average school — just being nice weight room-based, nice indoor facilities but everything really has just stood out so far,” Armstrong said.
The environment at Big Orange Country continued to impress the 2018 class blocker as he had a positive first experience meeting the coaching staff at Tennessee, and particularly with offensive line coach Don Mahoney.
“I really like them, especially coach Mahoney,” Armstrong said. “He came across as very down to earth and wanted to know me as a player and person and not just as an athlete.
“When I talked to coach Mahoney, he said he wanted to start calling me every week so we can become friends. He said he doesn’t want to just call me as a recruiting pitch— he wants to talk to me to get to know me, so that’s what I like about that, too.”
Armstrong noted that it “meant a lot” to him to know his position is one that would not be overlooked by offensive coordinator Mike DeBord. The Tennessee target’s footwork and speed are among some of the top skills that caught the eye of Vols coaches when they watched his film.
“Coach (Mahoney) said they liked me as a player and they loved my film,” he said. “And they love the way I play. They said they have a great team need for offensive lineman — and my speed.”
Armstrong is acquainted with Tennessee freshman Marquez Callaway and occasionally talks to former Auburn defensive lineman Jeffrey Whitaker, who also played at Warner Robins. The former SEC player has provided insight on the requiting process to the Vols target and has advised him to “think it all out and make the right decision for himself.”
Prior to visiting the Volunteer State, Armstrong visited Georgia and Florida State. Since his visit to Knoxville, the offensive tackle has visited schools such as Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
“I’m just taking it in strides and working on my game instead of working on my offers,” Armstrong said. “That’s my main focus right now— pulling up my game.”