Vols Join Crowd

Add Tennessee to the growing list of ardent admirers seeking the pass rushing services of Gainesville, Ga., defensive end Keith Wells, a prospect that is being compared to a young Jarvis Moss.

The Vols extended a scholarship offer to the 6-foot-5, 210-pound defensive end on Tuesday joining a premiere pack of pursuers that includes: Florida, Ohio State, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Louisville, South Carolina, North Carolina. Georgia Tech and Clemson among others.

What makes this outpouring of offers unique is the fact Wells didn't receive his first offer until March 17. He certainly performed well enough as a junior to attract attention, recording 50 tackles and 12 sacks for a Gainesville High School team that went 8-3. But it wasn't until his highlight tape began to circulate this spring that the phones began to ring.

"This whole thing has been crazy, I mean really crazy," he told John Marchant of GAVSV. "I mean I now have offers from the two teams that played for the championship. I'm trying to take all this in stride, but I can't help but get excited. At the same time I'm trying to set an example for my teammates and let them know that they come first for me. My main goal is building up my team and winning football games."

Obviously Wells' team first philosophy makes him attractive to college programs ever mindful of the intrinsic value offered by high-character, low-risk prospects. He has already made unofficial visits to Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Clemson and has definite ideas of what he wants from his college experience.

"Definitely academics, whether a school offers my major or not and all the academic answers that a school offers," Wells said. "(I'll look at) the different type of academic programs that are going on at the school. The second thing would be the direction of the football program and where the football program would be in my few years there. I'd say the third thing is campus life and student life, as far as how the students interact with each other and just things to do on campus when you're not doing things football related."

Wells was planning on making his decision before the start of his senior season, but a the rate offers are coming in that may no longer be feasible.

"I wanted to commit before my season all along but now I'm not real sure," he explained. "Now that all these offers are rolling in I'm going to take my time and think it through. I'll probably narrow it down to five schools by the end of summer. I don't want to go through the whole season but I doubt I'll make my choice before the start of football."

Wells is a high-potential prospect who is still growing into his formidable frame. He has outstanding athleticism and sound technique but his strength is probably the intensity level he brings onto the field of competition.

"Honestly, I'm just a playmaker," he said. "I'm ferocious. My mentality on the field is that nobody can block me. I just don't stop until I hear the whistle, and even after I hear the whistle, sometimes I still don't stop. I'm just an aggressive, ferocious football player.

"On the field, I have this attitude that nobody is going to stop me. I sort of have that confidence about me to where I play very nasty and aggressively on the field.  The other team is my enemy."

There are a lot of college coaches that would like to have Keith Wells on their side.


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