Corey Bender

Vols target, 4-star Devan Barrett 'looking around'

Has Tennessee do enough to convince Devan Barrett that Knoxville should be his college home? Read what the Scout 300 member told IT after an official visit to Rocky Top.

The relationship between Devan Barrett and Tennessee assistant coach Larry Scott has the Volunteers believing they at least have a puncher’s chance at getting the ball carrier to change his verbal commitment to the Orange & White from the Auburn Tigers.

Scott is a Sebring, Florida, native, which is less than 100 miles away from Barrett’s hometown of Tampa. The two were shoulder-to-shoulder for a portion of the weekend as Tennessee coaches convinced Barrett to take an official visit to Knoxville.

“It was mostly (Scott),” Barrett told InsideTennessee. “He was telling me how the atmosphere was a family atmosphere, and I definitely felt that when I came down here. That’s just something I’m looking for in a school, I mean just where I’m going to be spending my next four years, not just football, and just some people I’m going to be around with.

“It’s a great school. Like I said before, I mean the recruiting process is still open. I never know what’s going to happen. I’m just thankful.

“(Took the visit) just to keep my options open, see what’s out there for me. I just can’t commit to one school and just have a closed mind. I’m just open minded and have all my options open.”

Scott took over for Mike DeBord as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator with the official announcement coming Friday. Scott’s ties to the Tampa area make his relationship with the Scout four-star prospect quite natural.

“I talk to him a lot, almost every day,” Barrett said. “I talk to him on the phone, he texts me, stuff like that. He was telling me about the place and how great it is. Everything he said was true.”

The keys being handed to Scott can only help the Big Orange’s chances of flipping the Scout No. 5-ranked athlete in the South.

“I mean it’s kind of crazy how things work around recruiting, all these coaches moving places and moving difference coaching staffs and stuff like that. It’s wild,” Barrett said. Tampa Catholic High School senior verbally committed to Auburn on July 28.

“I would say I’m pretty solid (to Auburn) right now,” the 6-foot, 190-pound Barrett said, “but I still always have my recruiting process open and whatever. I’m just looking around.”

The Scout 300 member and No. 1-ranked athlete in the Sunshine State’s 2017 class is being recruited by Tennessee as a running back. The Volunteers enter the season ahead without Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. Last year’s leading rusher, quarterback Joshua Dobbs, is gone as well.

“Playing time would be a big factor and, like I said, family atmosphere,” Barrett said. “Being around all the teammates and all the coaches, they’re great people. I really like it here.

“They’ve stayed with me ever since they offered me. That’s big when it comes to recruiting to see what schools really want you.”

Tennessee’s offense put up a single-season record 63 touchdowns last season.

“We went over their offense and stuff like that,” said Barrett, who was hosted by Vols wide receiver Brandon Johnson. “They didn’t really have a coordinator change. They have a couple coaches coming in, but I’ve met all of them. They’re all about their business.”

Scott, coach Butch Jones and Robert Gillespie are expected to trip to Tampa on Tuesday to check in on Barrett. They have their work cut out for themselves if they want to get Barrett to run through the T this September.

“I would say it’d take a lot,” Barrett said. “I’ve been up to Auburn many times. I love it up there. I’ve got people and family up there. So, yeah, it’d probably take a lot.”

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