Cam Akers returned to Tennessee’s campus this month and got the “orange carpet” treatment, taking part in the invite-only Orange Carpet Day event in Knoxville.
“It was definitely, definitely a fun experience, definitely a family environment,” said Akers, who ranks by Scout as the No. 3 running back in the 2017 class. “Good people here, good coaches. I’m definitely glad I came back.
“I hadn’t been here for an Orange Carpet Day, so I really haven’t experienced that. But really experiencing that and really, really experiencing the family environment that they have here was really, really, really a big deal.
“They did what they always do. They always show me a lot of love when I come here. They always give me..they treat me like family. The only thing different was having a lot more fun with it because it was Orange Carpet Day.”
The Scout five-star running back prospect’s favorite part was “just going out on the field and having a good time, playing games, dancing. That’s all of that good stuff. We really had fun; it was really a fun experience.”
Running back talent worthy of a starting job in the Southeastern Conference is hard to find. While it can be cultivated, there are skills that backs must own that cannot be taught. The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder clocked a laser-timed 4.44-second 40-yard dash and a 4.09 shuttle time at The Opening New Orleans back on April 10.
The skill and production together with a need to sign talent at his position make Akers important to Tennessee this cycle and recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie “definitely, definitely” makes the fellow Magnolia State native feel like a priority.
“Coach G stressed that a lot,” Akers told InsideTennessee. “He made me feel like a priority.
“It’s definitely a great relationship. Me and coach G, we talk on a daily basis. We definitely have a great relationship.”
Part of what makes the five-star so vital to Tennessee is the likely departure of its top two running backs — Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara.
“They want me to take the throne when they leave,” Akers said. “I guess I look up to them in a sense.”
Akers understands Tennessee could offer plenty of carries his first season on campus, which helps the Vols in their courting of the South’s best back.
“It definitely does being able to walk into a situation and possibly start and definitely get playing time,” Akers said. “That definitely does play a part in making the decision.”
The Clinton (Miss.) High School standout has a top 10 that includes Alabama, Auburn, Cal, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michgian, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Tennessee. Akers told IT that he had planned to narrow his list of top schools to seven but it’s more likely he get down to the 4-5 range at some point this August.
Akers likely is not returning to Knoxville until he takes an official visit on a gameday weekend. He added that he will make a return trip to Tallahassee to see Florida State. He visited Oxford early last week. A declaration figures to come this winter with Akers planning to enroll in college in January.
“I’ll probably do it at my school probably in December,” Akers said.
As a junior, Akers ran for 1,418 yards and 16 touchdowns on 169 attempts while holding down quarterback duties. He toted the rock 166 times for 896 yards and 17 TDs as a sophomore. Akers' freshman season resulted in 685 rushing yards and four scores on 123 attempts.