Tennessee's spring practice finale wasn’t Richard Jibunor’s first visit to Knoxville, but it stood out as one of his best trips yet to Rocky Top.
“It was awesome,” Jibunor told InsideTennessee. “I mean I love to come back here. I’ve been here a couple of times, and I’ve been looking forward to coming. I have been talking to the coaches a lot, so I told them I was probably going to be here today.
“I just wanted to see the kind of players they had coming back and everything. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the players that came back and they’re very excited for the season. They have a good work ethic and they’re very happy about it.”
Among those the 6-foot-3, 206-pound linebacker out of Athens Christian (Ga.) School spoke to was Tennessee rising junior wide receiver Jauan Jennings.
Jibunor, who received on offer from the Volunteers in April 2016, took advantage of his opportunity to sit down and speak in-depth with Tennessee's staff about his potential as a Vol.
“I spoke to almost all of the coaches,” the Scout No. 3-ranked outside linebacker in Georgia's 2018 class said. “I sat with coach (Butch) Jones in his office for a long time and we spoke. You know, we had a good discussion.
“I was happy coach Jones himself spoke to me — and my position coaches, too. So it was wonderful, it was different.”
It’s evident that the Tennessee coaching staff is doing all they can to reel in the talents of the South’s No. 6-ranked outside linebacker.
“They tried to get me to commit,” the Scout four-star prospect said. “They told me how they like me, how they’re ready to get me to the program and everything. So they just want to give me to give them my commitment. We talked about things like that, and how they could use me (within the defense).”
During The Opening Atlanta in March, Jibunor proved that his talents as a pass rusher extend beyond playing at the SAM position, too, when he walked away with MVP honors after competing as a defensive end for the day.
Jibunor maintains a business-like approach while sorting through his scholarship offers, which include Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Louisville and Kentucky to name a few.
“Tennessee was my first SEC offer, so it was like breakthrough for me in the SEC wall,” he said. “Then I thought it was over. I thought it was just Tennessee before lots of schools came behind and I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got lots of opportunities.’ And I just want to take time to look at it all.
“I’ve taken visits to some other schools. Right now, Tennessee was one of the schools that I was wanting to come back to, to clarify anything I was having doubts in. And it was worth it.”
As for future visits to Knoxville, Jibunor says he is looking into attending camp this summer.
He intends on making a college decision before his senior year.