Douglas pumped for A&M

No Tennessee player is more excited about facing Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl than guard Cody Douglas, and that's understandable. A native Texan from LaMarque, he committed to the Aggies as a high school junior.

How he came to be a Vol is an interesting story. Douglas grew up following the University of Texas football program.

''I was a Longhorn to the core,'' he says. ''I hated Texas A&M.''

He switched his allegience to A&M, however, about the time the school hired LaMarque's head coach (Allen Waddell) as an assistant. That created what Douglas calls ''a pipeline'' from LaMarque to College Station. In addition, A&M's campus was just 75 minutes from his hometown.

Douglas committed to the Aggies in March of his junior year, then decided to take a look at some other options during the winter of his senior year. After visiting Michigan, Oklahoma and Tennessee, he got an angry call from an A&M assistant.

''The offensive line coach got kinda mad because I was taking visits, and we got in kind of an unpleasant conversation one night,'' Douglas recalls. ''I kinda felt like (head coach) R.C. Slocum wasn't going to be there for the long run, and that's why I kinda backed out.''

With the Tennessee visit fresh in his mind, Douglas committed to the Vols shortly thereafter.

''I came up here and found a home here,'' he says. ''I really felt comfortable here.... When you set down all the factors I was looking for in a college, they (Aggies) really couldn't compete with Tennessee in my eyes, so this is where I chose.''

When he reneged on his A&M commitment in January of his senior year, Douglas caught a lot of flak from the locals.

''I got a lot of heat,'' he says. ''The message boards and things ... they really didn't have a whole lot of kind words for me. A lot of the alumni around town didn't take too kindly to it, but that's something you have to deal with. I'm sure all those people have long since forgot about me.''

Douglas played Youth Football with Jaxson Apple, A&M's first-team free safety. He knows several more Aggie players. That gives this game a little extra meaning for him. He believes his Tennessee teammates also are geared up for this game.

''We were kinda looking forward to going four hours the other way to New Orleans (site of the Sugar Bowl),'' he says, ''but we'll take Dallas. I was committed to A&M for several months in high school, and I know a lot of guys on their team. I'm excited about the opportunity to play those guys and play in my home state for the first time since I've been in college.''

Inside Tennessee Top Stories