Quarterback Jesse Scroggins maintained he is not committed to play football for Tennessee despite persistent speculation to the contrary.
“I’m loving the trip actually,” the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Scroggins from Lakewood (Calif.) High School said following UT’s camp on Saturday. “This is my mother’s home state. That gave them (the Vols) an advantage a little but I have not committed yet.”
The trip was Scroggins’ first to Knoxville. Scroggins visited Florida this week before traveling to UT. He maintained that he is still “wide open” concerning his college decision but it was clear UT had made a strong impression and likely vaulted into the lead.
Scroggins will stay in Knoxville until Sunday before flying home to Southern California. If Scroggins stays true to his plan, UT will have the final say in his recruitment.
“I don’t plan to commit on any of these trips,” Scroggins said. “I’m thinking next week or something. I’ve still got to go back and evaluate and talk to my coach, tell him how I feel and talk to my parents.”
Much of Scroggins decision could hinge on UT’s evaluation of his cousin: receiver Jerry Anderson from Houston High School in Germantown. Anderson was at UT’s camp on Saturday.
“We used to play together when we were like five and six (years old) and we’ve been trying to hook up since, but it hasn’t really worked out yet,” Anderson said. “Hopefully Tennessee can make that happen.”
Anderson said he has scholarship offers from Duke, Ole Miss, Purdue, Indiana and Middle Tennessee State. He said he was hoping for a UT offer before the end of the day on Saturday.
“I haven’t seen him in four years,” Scroggins said of his cousin. “Working out with him was a great thing. I’m hoping they offer him.”
UT has family on its side in Scroggins’ recruitment. He has several family members living in Memphis. That sense of family carried over to Scroggins’ trip to Knoxville.
“It’s more like a family feeling,” Scroggins said. “It felt like I already knew them (UT fans) but I didn’t know them. Everything felt good.”
Scroggins certainly felt at home when he saw “The Rock” painted orange and white with “Scroggins = T Championships”. “The Rock” is a minivan-sized stone close to the athletic complex that is often painted with university-related messages.
“I came here and my name was on this big rock,” Scroggins said with a wide smile. “That’s very impressive. I felt welcome, very welcome.”
Scroggins spent much of his time in Knoxville with UT coach Lane Kiffin.
With only one scholarship quarterback slated to be on the roster following the 2009 season, UT is in desperate need of a quarterback for its 2010 signing class.
“Down to earth guy,” Scroggins said describing Kiffin. “We kid around about stuff. He’s real cool.”
Scroggins will take part in a camp at Southern California next weekend in which six quarterbacks will take part in a skills competition.
“Whoever does the best this week gets an offer on the spot,” Scroggins said, reciting what he has been told by USC coaches.
Yet an offer doesn’t mean Scroggins is certain to pick the Trojans, even though USC’s campus is less than 20 miles from Scroggins’ home.
“This process is almost over,” Scroggins said. “(They) kind of waited.”
Scroggins is widely considered one of the best pro-style quarterbacks in the nation, although he has more athletic ability than many of his pocket passing counterparts.
That was on display during some of UT’s footwork drills. Scroggins’ strong arm was best showcased during UT’s one-on-one and seven-on-seven drills.
Scroggins said he was impressed with some of the UT players he met on his trip, namely tailback Bryce Brown and defensive end Chris Walker.
“The trip has been fun,” Scroggins said. “I got to work out in the camp and the coaches have showed me around and gave me love.”