Hooker: Berry's recruiting impact ongoing

Dave Hooker

Call it the Eric Berry effect.

While you may think that Berry's entrance into the NFL means he's far removed from Tennessee, take a second to ponder the following:

n Berry's younger twin brothers are almost guaranteed to be highly rated UT prospects.

n Berry's charity work in the Atlanta area should help the Vols' visibility there.

Let's begin with Evan and Elliot Berry. Chances are you've heard their names. Evan even reportedly committed to UT last June.

That was a little misleading. Both certainly have interest in UT after seeing their older brother and father, James Berry, have great success there.

But let's be real. A middle school commitment doesn't - and shouldn't - mean a lot.

Still, let's talk about what the Berry twins might be when the class of 2014 rolls around. Evan and Elliot ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 and 4.46 seconds respectively, in the Atlanta MVP camp this month. That was among the top five of the nearly 300 athletes, mostly high schoolers, who attended the event.

Did I mention the two are in the eighth grade?

And did I mention that Eric Berry ran a 4.47 in the NFL combine this year?

"You saw my time at the combine," Eric Berry said. "You see their time now. We're going to have a race when we get back home, but if you want to speak on them being ahead of me, yeah, they're way ahead of me.

"I didn't start running those times till when I was in high school my sophomore year. They're way advanced. They're very athletic."

Now I'm sure the timing at the NFL combine is a bit more stringent than any high school prospect camp. But look beyond the times and see the dedication. That's what made Eric Berry so great, and what seems to guarantee that his brothers will be of the same ilk.

"It makes me feel good, not just for the fact that they're blessed talent-wise but they worked for that," Eric Berry said. "They've been running track. They wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning, go work out at the high school, been lifting weights making sure they're ready for next year when they go to high school.

"That's the part that makes me proud is that they're not satisfied with just being good; they want to be great. I admire that about them."

Prepare for the Berry twins' legend to grow. Like their older brother, they'll enter Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga., this fall.

"They're going to be starters," Eric Berry said. "Coach (Johnny) White, he said as long as they come in and compete, they'll have a chance to start and that's the same thing he told me. So I know their work ethic and I know their drive."

The Berry twins aren't the only potential for future success that Eric Berry is offering the Vols. There's also a more indirect way. Berry, for his standout collegiate career, will long be thought of as a Vol.

That means anything his name is attached to can help UT, which bring us to his Eric Berry Foundation.

The first goal of that foundation is to rebuild a once proud Little League park that Berry used to call home.

Thanks to a partnership with Pilot Oil (and you know who heads that company), Duncan Park has had conversations with companies to install artificial turf at the Atlanta suburb. That should cut down on the maintenance that has been woefully inadequate in recent years.

"When it was really a good park, kids could go there and have fun," Berry said.

That hasn't been the case lately. An annexation took control of the park from the county and gave it to the city, which meant Berry's father handled most of the park's upkeep.

Now the family that once striped the fields can write the checks that turf the fields. That should help the park - and increase UT's notoriety in one of the talent-rich areas in the country.

"They came up with this elaborate plan on how they are going to build up the park," Berry said, referring to his agent Chad Speck. "The park is pretty much terrible right now so they're going to build is back up to how it used to be."

College or NFL, Eric Berry keeps having an impact.

Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He may be reached at hookerd@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 17

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Yes WD, hope to see more of you here as football approaches, and EB, good luck in the NFL, hope you have many Pro-Bowls and maybe a ring someday!

osbymartin#581730 writes:

I have said it before this is a quality kid and has been nothing but a great representative for UT, the SEC, and college football. I am sure that he will represent the Kansas City Chiefs will the same class and dignity that he has given the UT community the last 3 years!

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

A kid with World-Class talent who didn't screw up and do something stupid!

What a concept.

96VolGrad writes:

This Eric Berry lovefest was brought to you by Dave Hooker of the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Good story about a great family.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

in response to MYFAVORITECOLOR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

An idiot? Because I'm praising a great Vol for not being a Nukeese??? You fair-weather Vol fans amaze me.

See you again when they get the 1st 2010 win in September.....

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What will wifee say about man kiss on lips?

BTW missing your wit. Just because it is off season, when you bleed orange, you always stand ready as a Volunteer.

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry work has interfered with important things in life.

Trolls are coming out here like dandelions in spring. They too are easy to blow away.

I like our team except for a minor issue. Who will be QB?

brianarauch#206642 writes:

Love to hear about stuff like this. Keep making us proud EB. I wish you all of the best and can't wait to see you on Sundays. There are certain people that it just feels good to cheer for. Eric is one of those. Keep it up!

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Unfortunately, unknowns in O-line presents possibility that all may have to play.

You maintain domain in Mid Tn and over these boards. As much as I hate to admit Mike Hamilton might be right, hire of Dooley will provide great returns, just not in short term.

Georgia_Dave writes:

Geargia Dave think Witch Doctor wrong about Bray only being back-up. I don't know what happened to bones this time.

HtownVol writes:

in response to AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons:

An idiot? Because I'm praising a great Vol for not being a Nukeese??? You fair-weather Vol fans amaze me.

See you again when they get the 1st 2010 win in September.....

Im with you, there are a lot of clowns on this site. If someone makes a comment that is honest and does not praise UT you can count on being a "idiot".

It would be nice to comment to others on here who can talk about strengths and weaknesses of UT, not only pointing out the great.

Dam*ed if someone does not like Steven Pearl playing 20 minutes in a game. See how many that brings.

Go Vols!

HtownVol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

WD - I know that after the O_W game I saw you saying that Bray was far ahead of Simms. Its kind of hard to mistake you and others on here.

I say it has to be Bray. TB has a gun and can make all the throws as to Simms is not very strong armed. Bray seemed to look better in every aspect. I know that Simms didnt have the WRs, but his throws would not have been any better with Jerry Rice (15 years ago).

I understand Bray will benifit from sitting for a year, but the smart ones (coaches) know that after Simms throws 4-5 int's we will be calling for Bray, so go ahead and give him the reps. If he eats right, hits the weight room and gets 1st team reps he can be ready for a SEC season.

Eric Ainge was pretty good as a FR with close to the same size so I see no reason to start Simms if Bray is by far the better QB to win games.

And to the topic, I cant wait to see the Berry twins at UT in 4 1/2 years. I see no way they do not end up at UT. Those kids should be beasts by then. And if they are close to Eric, just imagine having 2 EB's on the field at the same time.

It is a reason to be excited about the future.


worldwideturd writes:

Here's hoping for some orange & white checkerboard endzones on the new turf in Duncan Park...See you in 2014 Evan and Elliot.

BillyVol writes:

witch doctor you take care driving around Morristown, most of da skunks are still alive, like on here, and the dead ones stink most like on here.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Eric Berry and Peyton Manning are the gifts that keep on giving.

If you want to see a pair of eyes light up, mention Manning's name to someone from Indiana.

largeandincharge writes:

how about orange turf?

Orangeyouavol writes:

in response to largeandincharge:

how about orange turf?

I'm all for it

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