The coaches calling and visiting Harris read like a Hall of Fame induction list: Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, Bob Huggins and Jim Calhoun.
There was also a trip to visit John Calipari at Kentucky's Big Blue Madness at the official start of the fall basketball practice.
"I thought about all of it,'' said Harris, the No. 1-rated high school power forward in the nation according to Rivals.com. "It came down to the coach that I felt really had my best interests at heart as a player and as a person.''
And that was Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl.
But it wasn't the simple matter of Pearl and the Vols making the 6-foot-8, 215-pound Harris from Half Hollow Hills West High in Glen Head, N.Y., feel a part of their family.
"No, he made us feel special, too, and that's the kind of quality person we're getting,'' UT associate head coach Tony Jones said. "Let me show you something I'm going to keep on this phone forever.''
Jones scrolled down his Blackberry to a text message dated Aug. 19 - the day his father was found murdered in Detroit.
It was a text, from Harris, offering condolences and spiritual well-wishing.
Then, another, dated Aug. 22: Harris told Jones he was dedicating the MVP award he won at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 tournament in New York City to Jones' father.
"When we say Tobias is special, we're not just talking basketball,'' Jones said. "Tennessee fans are going to absolutely love him.''
Harris said the Vols were always at the top of his list, but he held his cards close to his vest.
"You get a lot of calls, people wanting you to come, but you have to control the situation,'' said Harris, who appears poised to take over for current UT senior Tyler Smith. "You can't let it get over your head, and you've got to be true to yourself and know where you want to go.''
Harris took part in UT's elite skills camp in June and visited campus again the second weekend in October when the UT football team routed Georgia.
He admits Syracuse had the lure of being closer to home, but he also revealed that Knoxville somehow found a special place in his heart.
"I really liked Syracuse, but Tennessee has such a great atmosphere,'' Harris said. "It felt more like home, just with my (future) teammates and the campus. I don't think I'll miss home when I'm there.''
Harris felt so strongly about the Vols that he and his father drove up from Atlanta, after taking a visit to Georgia Tech, to watch UT defeat UNC Asheville on Tuesday night.
The idea was to get a "real" look at UT's basketball program, without the red carpet being rolled out.
"It made me realize I really wanted to go there,'' Harris said. "It was just the way Tennessee played and what Tyler was doing on the floor - it was the same things I'll be doing.''
Harris signed the next day and announced his decision live on ESPNU on Thursday.
It was a historical moment for Tennessee basketball, as Harris is the highest-rated prospect the program has ever signed.
"Not since Stu Aberdeen went and recruited Bernard King have we had a Northeast prospect like this,'' Pearl said. "We knew at some point we were going to loser Tyler, and so we've been recruiting Tobias for a couple of years.
"This wouldn't have happened without Tony Jones, and Tobias researched his decision thoroughly.''
Pearl said many schools recruiting against Tennessee told Harris the Vols didn't have many players in the NBA (two).
"He's a top-five kid who picked a top-20 school,'' Pearl said. "But he came to Knoxville and saw how our players go hard, play unselfishly and improve.
"It's why we have the top strength program, the best trainers and assistant coaches because we want all of our players to get better.''
Harris said he's not concerned about any added pressure or attention his arrival at UT may generate.
"I'm just going to come in and play my game and work hard to get to where I can be,'' Harris said. "I know I'll be ready for college.''
Harris said he'll enroll in the first term of summer school, as will point guard Trae Golden (McEachern Ga., High School) and shooting guard Jordan McRae (Liberty County, Ga., High School).
"I've heard about the summer (Pilot Rocky Top League) and all of the guys that play in it,'' Harris said. "I plan on playing in it. It sounds like fun.''