Nyshier Oliver never stopped thinking about Tennessee.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J., committed to the Vols for the second time on Monday night.
Oliver first committed to UT in June but later de-committed and gave a pledge to Notre Dame in September.
Oliver, who visited UT last weekend, said he never stopped wanting to play for the Vols even while he was committed to Notre Dame.
Oliver said the influence of his father, Theodore Oliver, led to his commitment to the Fighting Irish.
“My father always wanted me to go to Notre Dame so I made a decision based on him,” Nyshier Oliver said. “At the end of the day it was my decision. It was confusing.”
Oliver said his father helped settle the confusion by telling his son to make his own decision.
“He told me, ‘Don’t do something you don’t want to do. Do it for yourself,’ ” Nyshier Oliver said of the conversation with his father. “Tennessee is my choice and it’s the choice I’m sticking with.
“I’ve always had Tennessee in my heart. I couldn’t let this slip up on signing day (on Feb. 4).”
UT also had Oliver’s preferred position at heart.
Oliver said he will have an opportunity to play defensive back for the Vols. He said Notre Dame was recruiting him to play on offense.
“I didn’t have any intentions of going there for the slot receiver position,” Oliver said. “I wanted to be a cornerback or defensive back.”
Oliver also decided he wanted to play for UT’s new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Oliver said he was honored that he became a priority for Kiffin.
“I took it as a sincere compliment that they went above and beyond to get in contact with me after I had de-committed from the University of Tennessee,” Oliver said. “To look at my film and still be interested showed me they were really interested in me.”
Oliver became more interested in looking at UT after he saw Lane Kiffin become the Vols’ new head coach.
He said he likes the direction of UT’s program.
“There’s a lot of energy going around,” Oliver said. “It’s a pretty young coaching staff that gets after it. It’s just really exciting.”
Oliver said UT’s coaches shared that excitement when he offered them his commitment.
“If they weren’t excited they sure acted like they were excited,” Oliver said. “It comes down to me being where I felt comfortable. Every time I’ve been down to Tennessee it always felt like the right place for me.”