De’Von Graves has college options, including a place in the N.C. State commitment class for 2018.
Will the two-way threat suit up for the Wolfpack? That’s not a guarantee in spite of a pledge that’s lasted for over a year. Part of that uncertainty stems from the Virginian’s interest in Tennessee.
Graves made his way to Rocky Top on Saturday and put his skills on display for Vols coaches.
“It was a visit and a camp mixed together, but it was a real fun experience,” said Graves, who worked out at cornerback.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder was confident in his performance but believes he has more in the tank.
“I feel like I could have done better,” Graves said, “but I still raised some eyebrows because no one expected me to be that good. But, I mean, it’s always room for improvement what they taught me today really helped me out.”
“I know exactly how they want corners to play, and I might not just be playing corner. They say I’m versatile with my size. So they could move me to nickel or safety or a lot of positions.
“(Tennessee defensive backs coach Charlton Warren) was up-tempo. I liked his attitude about everything. He just approached it like he has a go-get-it attitude. I can really see myself being coached by someone like that.”
Warren, head coach Butch Jones and wide receivers coach Kevin Beard make up the trio of Tennessee coaches recruiting the Appomattox County (Va.) High School two-way talent. Graves said he’s been in contact with them “almost every day.”
The time in Knoxville included a sit-down with Jones in the Anderson Training Center.
“That’s kind of personal but he’s a really good coach; I have a lot of respect for coach Jones,” Graves said. “We just talked about me back at home, me being a country boy and hunting and stuff like that. We just had a regular conversation.”
The Vols’ offer came in the latter stages of the two-time state champion’s junior year.
“They offered me a couple months back,” the Scout No. 1-ranked athlete in the East said. “So I just wanted to come up and see the campus and everything and see how everything was rolling. But, yeah, I like it. It was a really good experience.
“SEC school. Crazy big, like the facilities and everything like that. Everything is so much bigger than a lot of the ACC schools. It’s only five hours away from home, so it’s in the ideal location and everything like that. Then, the people here. So that’s really what drew me here.
“I just know about (Tennessee) on TV like Cam Sutton and stuff like that. He’s a really good corner, and they almost have a DB drafted every single year. This is a blessing and Peyton Manning…come on now, he’s a legend.
“The weightroom (at Tennessee) is three times bigger than a lot of schools that I’ve been to. Just fields and everything like practice facility, it’s all pretty cool.
“The people, the coaches, they’re just heartwarming, they just open the doors to you. It’s just crazy how they’re just so friendly.”
In spite of what he said about the powerful SEC, Graves doesn’t have a league preference.
“It doesn’t really matter,” he said. “I know that my talent is going to shine regardless if I work hard. SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, it doesn’t really matter. The NFL is going to come, and if I don’t make the NFL, as long as the education is good. There are other colleges outside of this conference (SEC) that are really good.”
Expectations are for the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder to make another trip to Knoxville in July, and he intends to see what gameday at Neyland Stadium is like in the fall.