Eric Berry is in a decision-making dry run.
His coach has signed off either way.
His teammates are supportive no matter what happens.
And the Tennessee safety has a family that's letting him make up his own mind.
No part of that formula figures to change for the Vols star whether he's deciding to run through the "T" tonight (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.) for the last time against Vanderbilt or officially declaring for the NFL draft sometime after the season. Any number of factors and influences might weigh on Berry, but he'll be the one calling the shots.
"It is a very tough decision to make, and it's just so hard because you know if you stay in school you can go ahead and get that degree out of the way, you've got all these fans that love you," Berry said. "We've got all these NFL coaches on our team and they always tell us that on the next level it's not going to be the same. You're not going to have the fans like this, you're not going to have support like this. That's always in the back of my mind at times.
"But I know my family situation, I know what they're going through, and it's really hard to figure out what you want to do."
The situation at home coupled with his stock as one of the most talented players in the country has long made the decision to go pro seem like a foregone conclusion, though Berry has gone out of his way to keep the attention only on the Vols (5-5, 2-4 SEC) and this season.
That's been a bigger challenge with the possibility the Commodores (2-9, 0-7) might be the last team he ever plays at Neyland Stadium looming, but nobody else has complicated things for him.
UT coach Lane Kiffin publicly gave Berry permission to take part in Senior Night celebrations if he wanted, and though he has occasionally joked about having him back next year, there haven't been any real conversations about it.
His teammates have made it clear they have no problem with whatever he decides, and all season long he's received nothing but high praise from the locker room.
The Berry family has also stuck to the plan and hasn't addressed the future with him during the season, and his father James Berry also stressed this week that any issues at home have been overblown despite his short-term disability and mom Carol's being laid off a year ago.
"By no means are we leaning on Eric and telling him he's got to go and do something to help support us," James Berry said. "We've had a financial plan way before we would have thought about having Eric go out and do other things because we have other kids to raise. Eric's not the only kid we have to raise.
"It's not like we're saying, 'Once Eric gets there then we're just going to lay back and wait for Eric to support us.' By no means are we depending on him to do that. It's great that he has the opportunity in front of him to do well, but living is not hard for us."
That could make decision-making somewhat easier for perhaps the nation's best safety, though that's obviously not the only consideration.
The family took out an insurance policy against a career-ending injury before the season, though multiple players who turned down the NFL to go back to school last year likely cost themselves millions of dollars in the process - including injured Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford of Oklahoma.
Kiffin seems to have laid the foundation for the Vols to return to prominence, but there's no guarantee it would happen with Berry back for a senior season given the number of losses they will suffer at other positions.
But everything from labor issues to another chance to work with an NFL-caliber staff while in college are problems for another day.
"My mom always tells me, 'I don't want you to feel like you have to do something for us. Do what's best for you,' " Berry said. "That helps me out a lot, and the thing is, she's just been really straightforward with me, telling me how everything is - but sometimes she doesn't tell me everything that's going on because she knows how I am about her.
"But right now I'm just focusing on everything I can do to get this win at home, no telling if it might be my last or it's not. I just want to take everything in and try to appreciate these last games of the season."
Then Berry can start the process for real.