Justin King was won over by Tennessee after an unofficial visit to the SEC school.
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound linebacker from Dunwoody High School committed to Tennessee over Virginia, UCF and Cincinnati among his 14 offers.
“We kind of fell in love with it from an academic to athletic standpoint,” King told the AJC. “Everything is there for me for football and my education. My parents felt like this was the best place for me. It’s an easy drive from Atlanta and an easy ride to my brother who plays football at Tennessee Tech.”
King was particularly impressed with Derek Dooley, Tennessee’s coach. He and parents peppered Dooley with questions, and they liked the answers.
“He was honest about everything,” King said. “You can tell he’s not the kind of guy to sugarcoat things to make it sound good. My Dad asked him how he felt about losing. Coach Dooley said ‘I hate losing.’ He could’ve said stuff like ‘Well, we could’ve done better’ but he doesn’t sugarcoat it. My dad loved it. He says what he feels up front.
“I talked to the players and they said the same thing about Coach Dooley being honest and direct. We also liked how he said he would play the best player at every position. The best player will start at Tennessee. He doesn’t believe someone should play just because they are a junior or senior. He said that if you’re a true freshman or whatever and you’re the best in practice, you’re going to be out there in the games.”
What about Georgia Tech and UGA? Neither have offered King but both have shown moderate interest. King attended UGA’s “Dawg Night” prospect camp last Friday. “I don’t hold any grudges against them. I’m not that type of person. I’m always going to be representing the state of Georgia. I’ll be doing it at Tennessee after this season.”
King said he has a 2.85 GPA and is leaning toward a career in Special Education. “I’m helping now at my high school in a program for kids with disabilities and I enjoy it. I also like the CSI, the TV show. I think Criminal Law would be a great fit for me.”
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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog Got a recruiting item? firstname.lastname@example.org