One of the most coveted talents in the Volunteer State is Master Teague.
The Murfreesboro-based runner is fresh off a tour of some of the top programs east of the Mississippi, including an eventful Saturday on Tennessee’s campus in Knoxville.
“They feel that I’m more of a big deal for them than they used to,” Teague told InsideTennessee. “They put their best foot forward for me when I went and showed all what they had to offer for me. It was a good visit, it was good to see the scrimmage a little bit and then talked a lot with coach (Butch) Jones. So it was a good visit.”
The Scout No. 1-ranked runner in the Volunteer State’s 2018 class feels like Tennessee is after him “more so than I did.”
“(Tennessee coaches are) contacting me more and seeing how I’m doing and keeping up with me,” Teague said. “Before it was not a whole lot of contact. We were still kind of talking with coach (Robert) Gillespie every maybe other week or something like that, but now I have a lot of the coaches texting me, sending me mail a lot.
“Coach Walt Wells texts me every morning and then coach Butch Jones texts me quite a bit. Then, I have coach Gillespie and then the wide receivers coach (Kevin Beard) texts me. Get a lot of stuff in the mail, maybe 2-3 times a week. Then I call coach Gillespie every week.”
South Carolina had worked its way into being the Blackman (Tenn.) High School back’s top school for a short amount of time last summer. The Tennessee staff, among others, changed that.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder saw an uptick in the Orange & White’s recruitment of his services “just cause they think I’m great and the top back in Tennessee and one of them in the country. Then, they just feel like it would be good for them to get an in-state guy to stay home and represent the state. Coach Butch Jones feels like I’m a big leader and feels like I have good character and someone they want to have a part of their program to better them.”
The Tennessee offense has the same philosophy but a new playcaller as Larry Scott took over this winter for Mike DeBord. Regardless, the Volunteers plan to pound the football down opponents’ throats and having a back that benches 325 pounds, power cleans 340 and squats 500 — as a teenager — would be nice to have in the armory.
“Of course they like to run, that’s the main thing they want to do,” said Teague, who ran for 2,031 yards and 24 touchdowns in 11 games last season. “It sounds like they’d like me to run a lot but also learn how to catch and bubble routes and be a receiver as well — not in the slot but get out more in the pass (game) — so I can be more than just one threat. That’s basically what they were telling me. Then, of course big on pass protection and the learning the specifics of power, inside zone, outside zone, things like that and the blocking schemes.”
After having visited Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Tennessee in recent weeks, it’s time to digest and disengage before a declaration, which figures to come in June or sooner.
The Blaze have what Teague estimated to be a double-digit number of starters returning for 2017. They plan to finish the task of earning a gold ball after reaching the TSSAA Class 6A state quarterfinals in 2016.