Tennessee bested two of its SEC East rivals for one of the top offensive line prospects in the region.
Jose Jose committed to the Vols on Tuesday over scholarship offers from Florida and Georgia, who finished second and third, respectively, in the race for his services.
UT extended an official offer three months ago to the 6-foot-3, 330-pound Jose from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami.
“Ever since I got it, I’ve just been thinking,” he said. “I was in class today and I felt like I just needed to go ahead and make it official.”
Jose had 19 scholarship offers including Miami and Florida State.
“It was because of how close the schools were, but what really caught my eye is the opportunity to play early,” said Jose.
Opportunity is plentiful for any incoming offensive lineman headed to UT.
UT is in desperate need of offensive linemen for its 2010 signing class. The Vols have lost four offensive line backups in the coaching transition since last season and will lose four experienced offensive linemen from its roster following the 2009 season.
That — and a new staff to impress — had Jose thinking Vols early and often.
“They brought in a whole new coaching staff; there’s a big opportunity for me to play early,” Jose said. “I think can play as soon as I get there. Coach (Lane) Kiffin told me I just had to show them I could play and I’ll be on the field.”
Another factor in Jose’s decision was a childhood friend who lives in Knoxville.
“He said it’s pretty much like Miami, just a little bit colder in the winter so I think I’ll enjoy it,” Jose said.
Jose is an unusual prospect in that he wants to play offensive guard. Most highly touted prospects want at least a tryout at tackle before moving inside. Jose has played center, guard and tackle in high school but his favorite position is left guard.
“Coach Kiffin told me he wants me to play a little guard,” Jose said.
Jose said he hopes to attend UT’s summer camp in June. He said he isn’t planning on taking any more visits to other schools.
“I seriously doubt it,” Jose said. “I don’t think I will.”