One future Tennessee Vol has come a long way, literally, including his recruitment by two different coaching staffs.
Illinois' Zach Fulton and entourage was decked out in orange and white as they arrived on the Knoxville campus Saturday morning.
Excitement was in the air as it was the first opportunity for the Fulton family to experience a spring game on Rocky Top.
Fulton took time out of his busy schedule to stop by the upper deck of the University Center to participate with InsideTennessee's Sports Radio live tailgate show before making his way to Neyland Stadium.
"It's very exciting," Fulton told InsideTennessee.com. "It does make things feel closer, the day I arrive on campus is getting closer everyday."
Fulton plans on enrolling in summer school and participating in the summer off-season program.
"The offensive line has no starters returning," Fulton acknowledged. "The opportunity for me to come and work hard and earn a starting role is very realistic."
Fulton, who has worked extremely hard this spring both in the classroom and in the weight room, gives a lot of credit to his father Glen for his support throughout this entire process.
"My dad is the one that wanted me to come down and check out Tennessee in the first place," Fulton said. "I fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere and tradition here."
Falling in love with the school is one of the main reasons that Fulton remained open-minded when the coaching change took place in late January.
"I had really fell in love with the other coaching staff, but it was the school and campus that made a lasting impression on me," Fulton said. "That's why I gave the new coaching staff a chance to make an impression on me as well."
Fulton couldn't be happier with his decision to be a Tennessee Volunteer.
"It's a dream come true," Fulton said. "I can't wait to get there and get started working."
It's apparent that Fulton isn't taking anything for granted, realizing that he has to be in the best physical shape of his life.
"I have been working extremely hard," Fulton said. "I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm currently benching well over 400 pounds."
It was evident from seeing Fulton in person that he is ready for the challenge.
"He definitely looks the part," said one Tennessee sports writer. "That's what you want your incoming offensive linemen to look like."
Fulton also realizes that many fans and sports writers aren't giving the Vols a lot of chances for success this fall.
"Coach Dooley has talked to us about unifying as a group," Fulton said. "We have to believe in ourselves, no matter what others think. I think we are going to be a lot better than some give us credit for.
"I know it's motivating me. It's making me hungrier, wanting to prove some people wrong. We may be young, but I don't think people realize how talented some of our players are."
Maria M. Cornelius contributed to this report.