Jacob Warren pauses before he speaks, doesn’t act in haste and approaches the recruiting process without much emotion.
The Farragut (Tenn.) High School junior tight end made the jaunt over to Tennessee’s campus Saturday to take part in the first junior day of the recruiting cycle.
“I really enjoyed it, I had a great time,” Warren said. “I knew their facilities were nice and everything but just seeing all of it and talking to coaches and just being here and listening to everything they were saying, it’s a program that…like you can buy into it easily. It’d be a comfortable program to be at. I’ve seen most of the stuff around here. I like it. It’s a nice campus and really nice facilities and everything.
“Just hanging out with the coaches and everything and building the relationships; I’ve met quite a few of them already but there are some new coaches and stuff.”
He is the son of Memphis native James Warren, who played offensive tackle for the Volunteers 1992-93. Butch Jones’ staff offered Jacob Warren on Dec. 8.
“It is big,” Warren said. “It has been like, I guess you can say a ‘dream of mine’ just because I’ve been around the program a lot and my dad played for them and everything. So I’ve been to a lot of games. It’s just cool to get that offer from the hometown school and have the opportunity to potentially represent my hometown.”
Duke, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma State are some of the programs to offer of late. In spite of the lineage, opportunity and proximity, the 6-foot-6, 216-pounder said he didn’t come close to giving Tennessee coaches a verbal commitment Saturday.
“No, I’d say I’m still open, too,” Warren told InsideTennessee. “I’m not going to make any decisions too soon. Every visit I go on, it’s going to have an impact, and I mean I like being here. So, I think that will play a role in my decision, but I’m not making a decision anytime soon.
“They’re just going to let me take my time. There’s no use in trying to force something. It’ll come when it’s going to come and the decision will be made and I think it will be the right decision just by waiting and feeling it up.
“I wouldn’t say that anybody is necessarily on top but just the schools that I’ve visited — South Carolina and Tennessee — I have enjoyed. I’ve enjoyed both of them. I’d say that I know the most about them, so I can say that I like both of them. Once I take all my other visits and stuff. I think that they’ll start to weed each other out and a favorite will present itself.”
Holding off on a pledge isn’t from a lack of interest shown by Vols coaches, who’ve made it clear that the scholarship offer is legit.
“I’d say so, yeah,” said Warren, who is friends with Tennessee commit Cade Mays. “I definitely feel the hometown kid love and just really what you would expect for a prospect to receive from his potential coaches.”
Larry Scott earned a promotion from Tennessee tight ends coach to offensive coordinator this winter. If Tennessee lands Warren, it won’t be without the efforts of Scott.
“As a tight end and as a high-school tight end who has a chance to go to a school, that’s really promising just seeing that your tight ends coach is your OC. I mean he’s not going to not throw you the ball, you know what I’m saying? I like to see that and yeah he’s talked about how he wants to…he thinks that I can fit in well here and I can make some plays.
“I spent a lot of time with coach Scott (on Saturday). We ate together a couple times, just walked around together, had some conversation, talked about my family and talked about everything.”
The lengthy talent caught a key touchdown pass in Farragut’s TSSAA Class 5A state championship game victory in December. The Admiral realizes there’s more in the tank.
“I mean there’s always room for improvement in everything,” he said. “So I think just working hard, training, getting bigger, it’ll just come naturally. I’ll just keep getting better, keep getting stronger and faster and my team will rely on me more to make plays. I think that’s when I’ll actually make those plays and be able to shine. I think there’s definitely room for improvement.”
This spring, Warren will refine his craft as a pass catcher, competing on the 7-on-7 circuit with Next Level. He will also be “working out and eating” as he knows he must add bulk before getting on the field in college.
In 2015, Warren caught 29 passes for 479 yards with nine touchdowns.