Shawn Shamburger provides Vols diamond in the rough

Tennessee won out for a commitment from one of the South's most underrated defensive talents. Read about the 4.47 speed heading to Rocky Top.

Shawn Shamburger made his first trip to Knoxville on Saturday. Before he got back on Interstate-75 to return home, he informed Tennessee coaches he plans to be a Volunteer.

The Peach State-based defensive back was part of a crowd of better than 98,000 that saw the Volunteers take down Tennessee Tech 55-0. Prior to and after the contest, Shamburger got the full-court press from coach Butch Jones and the Tennessee staff. That effort and the Big Orange gameday experience were too much for Shamburger to turn down.

"Just the atmosphere, how everything was," Shamburger told InsideTennessee. "It was my first time coming up and seeing it first-hand. I just heard from my coaches and stuff. So it was pretty overwhelming.

“(The Tennessee coaches) were excited (after the commitment news). They were kind of overwhelmed. They said they wanted me bad, so when I committed, they loved it from the get-go.

“I talked to coach Butch after he got through with his (press conference). He talked to me, and I sat down and told him that I wanted to commit. He was like, ‘It’s a great deal. We want you here.’ He really just convinced me that they love me, and he wanted me there…He gave me a big hug.”

Shamburger gives Tennessee 27 commits for its 2017 class, which ranks No. 7 nationally with Scout. He joins Terrell Bailey, Maleik Gray and Cheyenne Labruzza as defensive backs pledged to the Volunteers.

Tennessee linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen and defensive backs coach Willie Martinez spearhead the recruitment of Shamburger.

"(Martinez) is a great person," Shamburger said. "He's very outgoing and he knows what he is talking about. I believe in what he is doing and what he is trying to do. He's a thrilling person. He has an outgoing personality, but he's very open. It's very different."

Martinez told Shamburger that the Vols don’t like to lock defensive backs into one position, so Shamburger could see time at cornerback, nickelback or safety.

“I could play over the two receiver or the three receiver in the slot,” Shamburger said. “He bumps his guys around to make plays.”

Tennessee hadn't turned up its recruitment of the 6-foot, 190-pounder until this month, offering a scholarship last Monday. Part of that was his transfer from Theodore (Ala.) High School to Colquitt County (Ga.) High School so he could play his senior season because rules in Alabama prevent a 19-year-old student-athlete from playing.

"I didn't hear from them too much until just recently when they offered me,” said Shamburger, who reports his 40-yard dash time is 4.47 seconds. "They finally sat down and looked at my film and had seen how I really played and how I upped my level from last year. There was a big difference."

Mississippi followed Auburn and Tennessee by offering a scholarship Friday.

Official visits will also be taken to Auburn, Oxford and Knoxville, he said. No dates have been set, but he does plan to return to Tennessee in an unofficial capacity when the Volunteers play Missouri at Neyland Stadium on Nov. 19.

Shamburger puts his prep football career on the line when Colquitt County takes on North Paulding in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAAAAA state playoffs on Friday.

The future Vol will not enroll in college in January as he plans to run track for Colquitt County in the spring, participating in the 100-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles and long jump.

He is already qualified with a 24 ACT score and plans to major in Chemical Engineering.

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