Tennessee is the team to beat for defensive back Mike Edwards from Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Edwards received a scholarship offer from new UT coach Lane Kiffin last month.
Edwards said the Vols have since taken the lead in the race for his services.
“Tennessee definitely has the edge right now,” he said.
Edwards said he hasn’t committed to UT because he wants to wait until he finishes taking his official visits.
Edwards has already visited Cincinnati officially and plans to visit Michigan on Jan. 9 and UT on Jan. 23.
Edwards said he could then commit to the Vols if he enjoys his trip to Knoxville.
“If I see what I like at Tennessee and my mind is made up and I’m still buying into the program then, yeah, I’m going to make a decision then,” said Edwards, who is also considering trips to Illinois and Minnesota.
Edwards said he started buying into UT’s program after talking to Kiffin.
Edwards said he likes the mentality Kiffin is bringing to the Vols.
“He has high expectations and wants what’s best for his kids,” Edwards said. “That’s what I like about him. He just said he wants players that are going to buy into the program and want to be successful not only in football but in life.”
Edwards said he expects UT’s defense to have success under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
“That’s really all I keep hearing is his name,” Edwards said. “I can’t wait to get down there to meet him and play for him because I have so many things I can learn and he can teach me.
“It’d be a wonderful experience to get to play for him.”
It’s Kiffin’s NFL experience that makes him so appealing.
Edwards said Kiffin could show him what it takes to play at the pro level.
“Playing for an NFL coach opens up more doors,” Edwards said. “It gives you the experience of running a pro-style offense and pro-style defense and knowing different techniques some other coaches might not know.”
Edwards said he’s also drawn to UT by the way he expects Lane Kiffin to run his program.
Edwards said he sees a similarity between Kiffin and Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr.
“That’s what makes Coach Kiffin and the University of Tennessee so high on my list,” Edwards said. “There really isn’t much of a difference in the philosophy in the programs from Glenville to Tennessee. So that’s a good deal for me.”