UPDATED THROUGHOUT 3 P.M. . . .
The way Tennessee has been recruiting the state of Georgia the past couple of years, it should come as no surprise that the Vols’ first commitment of the 2011 class came from a Peach State player.
Christian Harris, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker from Etowah High School in Woodstock, committed to new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley over the weekend, his high school coach confirmed. Harris had attended the Vols’ junior day the previous weekend, got an official offer on Friday and committed on Saturday.
“I went to their junior day, they took me around their campus and the whole place is just great,” Harris said. “They’re building a new football complex and it’s going to be awesome. I know if I go to Tennessee I’ve got a chance to win a national championship and that’s what I want to do.”
Recruiting was just beginning to pick up for Harris, whose only other to date was from UCF. He was invited to Auburn’s junior day this weekend and had planned to visit Clemson as well.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to go to those or not,” Harris said. “I might make some visits to other programs. But I like Tennessee and I’m comfortable with my decision.”
Harris said he was introduced to the Vols by Etowah coach Bill Stewart, who is good friends with UT recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach Lance Thompson.
“Actually Coach Thompson reminds me a lot of Coach Stewart, who is a big influence in my life, so I feel good about that,” Harris said.
Harris had about 80 tackles and several sacks playing strongside outside linebacker for Eagles last season, according to Stewart. But they plan to move him inside for his senior season and that’s where he’ll play for the Vols.
“He’s gained 30 pounds since the season,” Stewart said. “He’s gone through a big growth spurt and that’s one of the things they liked about him. He fits that Mike linebacker spot for them and that’s where we’re going to play him, too.”