Eric Gordon is ready for a bigger challenge.
The 5-foot-11, 189-pound cornerback from Hillsboro High School in Nashville began summer classes and workouts at Tennessee last week.
Gordon helped guide Hillsboro to a Class 4A state championship his senior season. He became used to being the best player on the field.
Gordon knows that won't be the case when he enters the SEC, and he's OK with that.
"I'm just ready to get in and see what it's like to play against guys that are on my level of competition," Gordon said. "I can't wait to prove myself."
Gordon can't wait to work with his new coaching staff, either.
Gordon said he believes UT's staff will help him develop a better understanding of the game.
"I always had good coaches in high school," he said, "but playing on a college level I'll be working with these guys all week so on game day I'll feel like I'm unguardable."
Gordon will be more confident on game day thanks to head coach Lane Kiffin.
Gordon, who was the first player to commit to Kiffin after he arrived at UT in December, said Kiffin's demeanor has rubbed off on his players.
"I'm glad I have a coach that's full of excitement and full of energy," Gordon said. "I love the energy he brings to Tennessee.
"Of course I want to play for him. Who wouldn't want to play for a coach like him?"
There was a point during Gordon's senior year when he didn't know if he'd be able to play right away at UT.
Gordon said he spent extra time working on his grades and preparing for the SAT test in order to become eligible this year.
Gordon said the effort was worth it.
"It made me feel pretty big that I accomplished those things," he said. "Now I'm able to attend the University of Tennessee."
Gordon knows there's a lot of attention on UT thanks to Kiffin's off-the-field efforts.
Gordon said Kiffin's arrival at UT should increase the already high intensity level in the SEC.
"I expect for a lot of teams to be gunning for us anyway, especially Florida," he said. "I just can't wait to prove myself and get on that level to play against those guys and those kinds of teams."
Josh Ward is a freelance contributor.