Inside look

Growing up a few miles from the Tennessee campus gives a guy ample opportunity to check out the Vol football program and facilities. But one Knoxville native got to see things from a vastly different perspective while attending the UT Senior Camp over the weekend.

"I grew up in Knoxville and I've gone to nearly every game," said Joseph Ayres, a strapping 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end prospect. "But I enjoyed getting to be on the inside – seeing where they practice and seeing the meeting room."

Ayres attended Knoxville's Webb School as an eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grader, helping the Spartans claim a state title in his final season there. He spent the 2007-08 school year at prestigious Chattanooga McCallie, where he estimates that he recorded around a dozen sacks and a dozen tackles for loss last fall. He'll be a senior there this fall.

Tennessee defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell stopped by McCallie to check out Ayres once before and got an up-close look while putting him through some defensive-end drills as part of Saturday's camp.

"He's the one recruiting me, and I really like him," Ayres said. "He's a real nice guy, doesn't get real mad. He's real laid-back and real honest."

Ayres, who previously attended football camps held at Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State University, commended Vol coaches for the thorough job they did of putting the prospects through their paces on Saturday.

"I thought it was a pretty good camp," he said. "They really tested our skills and our agility. They really looked at us in just about about every area."

Being a hard-nosed type of guy, Ayres especially relished the chance to go nose-to-nose in some of the camp's closing drills.

"I'm real competitive, so I enjoyed the one-on-one situations at the end the best," he said. "I liked getting to take a guy on in a competitive situation."

Ayres describes himself as "pretty interested" in Tennessee. A quality senior season at McCallie could help ensure that interest is mutual.


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