Tennessee hasn't filled out its commitment list for 2007, but the Vols are getting a head start for 2008.
Tauren Poole, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior tailback from Stephens County High School in Toccoa, Ga., informed UT coach Phillip Fulmer of his decision during an unofficial visit Saturday during the Alabama game.
"I'm very excited to get this opportunity because a lot of people don't," Poole said.
Poole, who is UT's fourth commitment of the 2008 class, was also considering Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Georgia, as well as several other schools that had also shown interest.
Poole visited Auburn, Clemson and Georgia. But Knoxville just had the overall feel he was looking for.
"They make you feel like you're part of the family even if you're not," Poole said of UT's coaches.
The Vols also got a commitment late Tuesday from Titusville (Fla.) Astronaut senior defensive end Rufus Williams. The 6-3, 225-pound Williams also had offers from Alabama and Auburn. He is UT's 13th commitment for 2007.
With more than 16 months until Poole can sign with UT, he knows other schools will assuredly come calling.
"I'm expecting that," he said. "I kind of figured that. It's cool. I just have to stay calm and stay focused."
Poole has over 1,200 yards in eight games this season.
"I have great vision, great balance and a great burst of speed," Poole said when asked to name his best attributes. "I never did think I was going to be a college football player. I worked toward that."
UT's connection with Poole came from Stephens County coach Travis Noland. He coached UT quarterback Jonathan Crompton at Tuscola High in North Carolina before moving to Toccoa in 2005.
"I feel very fortunate to have a chance to coach him," Noland said. "He's a complete package as a running back. But more importantly, he's just a winner."
Poole has planned his next trip to Knoxville. The next time he heads here, it will be to show his mother his future home -- and get her blessings after being left out of the last trip.
"She's just wonders why I made it so early," Poole said when asked if she supported the decision. "She wanted to be there when I made my decision so she's going to check it out."