The football coaches at Tennessee continues to reach into the Sunshine State to give their all in attempt to pluck supremely athletic prospects.
Deandre Johnson is the latest as the Miami native and Scout No. 12-ranked defensive end in Florida took an official visit this weekend alongside family.
“I got to see everything as far as academics and the football side,” Johnson said. “It was a great visit all in all.
“Just the family vibe I felt (was the takeaway). It felt like a family. The players, they interact with each other. The coaches, everybody was cool, and it just felt like home from home.
“(Tennessee coaches spoke) just about how I fit with the scheme, what they love about me. They just showed me some film and I can fit right in.
“Just the family vibe. All the players connect with each other. The people are genuine.”
While in town, the defensive end spent time Sunday at the home of Tennessee coach Butch Jones.
“Great house,” Johnson said. “The people were great, and I got to spend some time with them. Very genuine people.”
The time back on Tennessee’s campus “helped them a lot” with their chances of staying in the thick of it with the Mississippi State pledge.
The Miami Southridge (Fla.) High School senior was quick to point out Vols junior Derek Barnett as a fellow end that Johnson admires.
“I talked with (Barnett) — very humble dude,” Johnson said.
Johnson had a front-row seat to see Tennessee defeat Kentucky 49-36 as part of a crowd of 101,075 in Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
“Oh, the game was crazy,” Johnson said. “It was packed and it was loud.”
The prospect said it is between Mississippi State and Tennessee. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder sees playing time sooner rather than later should he ink with the Big Orange.
“My chances are high to come in and make an impact right away,” Johnson said.
The Scout three-star prospect ranks as the nation’s No. 72 defensive end. A fellow defender hosted the South Florida talent while on Rocky Top.
“I hung out with (Tennessee defensive tackle) Kahlil McKenzie,” said Johnson, who committed to Mississippi State on July 31. “It was great. He has a nice vibe. He took me around some other guys. Everybody was just cool.”
The SEC battle for the Miami-based player has Johnson’s head spinning at the moment.
“It’s going to be a tough one; I’ve just got to sleep on it,” he said.
“The most important thing I feel like is if it wasn’t football at a school, would I want to be there? So, just the family atmosphere, playing time of course and just do I like the school if there wasn’t football, basically.”
Johnson plans to officially visit Starkville in December after the FHSAA state playoffs end. He also plans to enroll in college in January.