Tennessee’s official visit haul proved to be small, but efficient this weekend.
Of five official visitors, the Vols picked up three commitments.
Defensive backs Dave Clark and Dontavis Sapp and linebacker John Propst told the News Sentinel on Sunday they were committed to play football for UT.
Clark could fill an immediate need for UT. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety from Independence (Kan.) Community College will find a vastly different secondary than the Vols boasted last season since All-American safety Eric Berry and cornerback Dennis Rogan skipped their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft.
“Basically, the playing time is going to be up to me and what I do in practice,” said Clark, who picked the Vols over Louisiana Tech, Colorado and Memphis.
Sapp also could benefit from UT’s immediate need in the defensive backfield. The 6-3, 205-pound safety from Valdosta (Ga.) High School had been committed to East Carolina since December, but jumped at the chance when UT came calling.
“First off it doesn’t get any better than the SEC,” Sapp said when asked why he committed to UT. “The (UT) players showed me a good time. I like the family atmosphere.”
Both Clark and Sapp spoke highly of newly hired UT coach Derek Dooley.
“Coach Dooley, he’s a nice man, a cool guy,” Clark said.
Clark knows Dooley well. Dooley recruited Clark to Louisiana Tech before being hired by UT. Clark said he was contacted by UT recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph shortly after the Vols hired him.
“I was just being patient,” Clark said. “Everything fell into place for me.”
Propst, a 6-2, 215-pound linebacker from Hoover (Ala.) High School, had been committed to West Virginia since June.
“Everything,” Propst said via text message when asked what he liked about UT. “ I felt like I fit in here and the coaches have been great, especially Coach (Lance) Thompson and Coach (Derek) Dooley.”
Propst is a nephew of Rush Propst, the former Hoover head coach who was featured in MTV’s Two-A-Days series.
Thompson recruited Propst and coaches UT’s linebackers.
Coping: UT commitment J.C. Copeland seemed all too non-committed after his official visit to LSU this weekend. The 6-2, 240-pound defensive end from Troup High School in La Grange, La., said he was “neutral” between UT and LSU.
“I have to think about it,” Copeland said. “I have to sit down and weigh my options out.”
Copeland has been committed to UT since May, but spoke favorably of his visit to Baton Rouge.
“It was pretty fun,” he said. “I viewed the campus and went out with the players and ate. . . . I’m committed to Tennessee but I’m going to sit down and make a decision.”
Copeland said LSU head coach Les Miles was “tremendous” and also sought counsel from former UT coach John Chavis, who is now the defensive coordinator at LSU.
“He told me to think about it and make the right decision,” Copeland said. “He coached at Tennessee before and said it’s a good program.”
Copeland said he will announce his final decision on Wednesday, National Signing Day.
More Visitors: Calhoun (Ga.) High School duo Nash Nance and Da’Rick Rogers braved the snowy conditions to visit UT this weekend. The two took an official visit to Knoxville last weekend.
Nance, a quarterback, committed to UT shortly thereafter. Rogers, a highly rated receiver who has been committed to Georgia, is considering UT.
Highly rated receiver Markeith Ambles from Henry County High School in McDonough, Ga., took an official visit to UT, arriving on Saturday.
Commitment Check: UT has 25 commitments for the 2010 class. The Vols are expected to sign approximately 27 players.