Once linebacker Bruce Irvin received that first scholarship offer, he knew what to do with it.
"What I've always told myself is that the first school that pulled the trigger, I would consider them first and pretty much lock onto them," the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Irvin of Mount San Antonio (Calif.) Community College said. "I really appreciate them doing that."
Tennessee was the first to offer - doing so Thursday - and received a commitment shortly thereafter. He is the sixth player for the 2010 signing class.
Irvin was also being recruited by LSU, Alabama, Southern Cal, Washington, Iowa State, Kansas State, Utah and Oregon State.
Although largely unknown, Irvin made a name for himself at a recent junior college prospect camp at Southern Cal. He posted a 4.35-second time in the 40-yard dash and did 20 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press.
"That's what separates me from being a normal big dude," Irvin said. "I'm big and I can run like I'm 180 (pounds). I'm just blessed to have that ability."
Potentially, there's much more. Irvin said he only recently got serious about working out.
"I've been really trying to hit it hard these last couple of months," he said.
Irvin figures to play linebacker at UT but he could grow into a defensive end.
"Wherever coach wants to put me, that's where I'll play," Irvin said. "I just want to get a chance to compete and prove to people I can play."
His family wasn't able to attend a single game in California after leaving Stephenson High School in Atlanta.
"Being so far away, they really can't see me play out here," Irvin said.
Irvin will enroll at UT in May 2010 and expects to have his family there every time he lines up in Neyland Stadium.
"They can come to all my games," said Irvin, who will be eligible to play two seasons in three years.
As for UT, distance and that early offer weren't the only factors in his college choice.
"I've always liked Tennessee," Irvin said. "The coaching staff - (defensive coordinator) Monte (Kiffin), (coach) Lane (Kiffin), (defensive line) coach (Ed) Orgeron - that's one of the elite coaching staffs in the country.
"I would love to get the opportunity to play for them. Hopefully they can get me to the next level."
UT also commitments from offensive lineman Jose Jose, defensive ends J.C. Copeland and Jacques Smith, and defensive tackles Patrick Harris and Risean Broussard.