Jersey jewel joins UT

For one Tennessee football prospect, accepting a scholarship offer from the Vols was like enjoying a prime cut of beef. He wanted to wait for precisely the right moment to savor it.

"I had the offer for a couple of months now; I just let it marinate in my head for a while," said Nyshier (pronounced Na-SHEER) Oliver, a four-star safety prospect from St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J. "I always wanted to commit; I've just been waiting for the right time."

Saturday was the time, and Tennessee's Senior Camp proved to be the place.

When a prospect shows up with his stepfather, his mother and his biological father, you know family means a lot to him. All were present as Oliver showcased his 4.4 speed and abundant athleticism during today's camp drills. And all shared in the celebration following his commitment.

"It's like family here," he said in explaining his commitment. "Tennessee is family oriented. Everybody meshes well. Coach Fulmer is a great guy. The whole coaching staff is great. The academics are good. It's just a great place to be."

Ultimately, a ringing endorsement from Oliver's mom sealed the deal for UT.

"My mom, Yolanda Hinton, came with me today," Oliver noted, "and she loves it."

A fluid 5-10½ , 184-pounder, Oliver rushed for 1,400 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior last fall but worked exclusively with the defensive backs during the Senior Camp.

"I like defense better," he said. "I like to cover. I like to use my ability, and I think that's where my future rests."

That's great news for Vol secondary coach Larry Slade, who spearheaded Oliver's recruitment.

"I love Coach Slade," Oliver said. "That's my recruiter and my position coach. You won't find a better coach in the country. You can get advice from him. You can relate to him and he can relate to you."

Oliver earned all-state honors in both football and track (100 meters) as a junior during the 2007-08 school year. Exceptionally versatile, he can play tailback, wide receiver, cornerback and safety.

"I'm just an all-around explosive player," he said. "I can play just about any position and I make big plays."

Imagine what he'll do when his talent has time to marinate a little bit.

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