Trevarris Saulsberry didn’t expect Tennessee to be his future home two weeks ago.
The 6-foot-4, 268-pound defensive lineman from Gainesville (Fla.) High School participated in UT’s summer camp on July 20.
Saulsberry’s performance in the camp earned him a scholarship offer from UT.
He gave the Vols his commitment on Sunday.
Saulsberry didn’t believe that was possible before he saw UT’s campus.
“When I went up there I was close-minded,” he said. “I thought, ‘Why are we coming up there? It’s a waste of my time.’
“After I visited everything changed. The coaches really made me want to commit there.”
That includes UT defensive line coach Chuck Smith.
Saulsberry said he trusts Smith because of his success as a standout defensive end at UT and in the NFL.
“I know he knows what he’s talking about,” Saulsberry said. “He’s not just saying things. He’s been there and done what we’re doing to get to where he is now.”
Saulsberry, who’s UT’s 11th commitment for 2011, chose the Vols over offers from South Florida and Oregon.
He also received offers from schools such as Michigan State, Syracuse and Central Florida.
One school to not offer was the hometown Florida Gators.
Saulsberry said he’ll consider Florida’s lack of interest when he plays against the Gators.
“There’s a lot of motivation to come and play a team that was recruiting me but didn’t make an offer,” he said. “I can show them they should have made me the offer.”
Florida could still offer Saulsberry, but that’s not likely to change his recruitment.
“It wouldn’t affect me at all,” he said. “I’m ready to come up to Knoxville.”
UT is ready to receive help on its defensive line.
Saulsberry the Vols’ need for defensive line help was a factor in his decision.
“I want to go to a school where I can start or get playing time my freshman year,” Saulsberry said. “When they said that, I said, ‘Why not?’”
UT is looking to build depth at defensive tackle and end.
Saulsberry said he could have an opportunity to play either position, according to Smith.
“I play inside and out now,” Saulsberry said. “I’ll be used to it.”