Ex-Tennessee RB recruit Imani Cross said he has “no hard feelings” after his recent separation from the Volunteers, and has set up at least two official visits with other schools in January.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from North Hall High School was the Tennessee’s first commitment for its 2012 recruiting class, picking the Volunteers last February among 15 early offers, which included South Carolina and Georgia Tech. Cross is ranked as the No. 19 RB in the nation by ESPN.
However, the yearlong courtship ended after a recent conversation between Cross and Tennessee recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph. What happened? We’ll let Tim Cross, the recruit’s father, explain:
“After being committed for 11 months, the reason the recruiter Terry Joseph told Imani and then Derek Dooley told me was that, ‘they hired a new RB coach from South Carolina and don’t know if he’s a Scat guy or Spread guy, so they were re-evaluating backs and that Imani should look around at other schools.’ Derek Dooley also said that ‘they didn’t want to wait until the last minute to tell us so that we could look at other schools.’
“After being committed to Tennessee for so long and not talking to other schools after his commitment, Imani has no animosity toward UT. At the same time, we’re very thankful … that other schools began calling. We wish them [Tennessee] the best for their search for the ‘best back.’ They have 9 to choose from.”
What’s next for Imani? With around a month left before February’s national signing day, Cross has set up official visits with Nebraska on Jan. 20 and East Carolina on Jan. 13. Cross may also take recruiting trips to Vanderbilt and Virginia.
“We are not bitter at all … The best part is that Imani is on track to graduate by passing Graduation Test and ACT and has a 3.2 GPA,” said the elder Cross. “As Imani put it, ‘When one door closes, other doors open.’”
The younger Cross, who is considering going into the ministry after college, rushed for 1,700 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior at North Hall, averaging more than 10 yards per carry. Cross also played defense and registered 88 tackles. He is the younger brother of Georgia Tech defensive end Izaan Cross.
The state of Georgia is fertile recruiting grounds for the Volunteers. Tennessee has 21 commitments for its 2012 class, including five from Georgia. The Volunteers were eliminated this week as a finalist for DE Jordan Jenkins (see below).
Want to see video of Cross? Click here to see his junior highlights. Senior clips will be up soon.
OTHER RECRUITING NEWS
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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