Maurice Couch changed his mind again Sunday.
Only this time, his final decision left Tennessee in better shape for the immediate future.
The four-star junior-college defensive tackle committed to Tennessee on Sunday evening, giving the Vols their second four-star commitment in less than a week and a player capable of stepping right in to fill a position of need.
Couch, accompanied by his parents and girlfriend, was on hand for Saturday’s 52-14 victory over Ole Miss as an official visitor. He left campus Sunday morning with the expectation of announcing his decision Dec. 1 from his school, Garden City (Kan.) Community College.
A few hours later, after his second flight of the day from Chicago to Kansas, Couch, whom 247sports.com considers a five-star, notified the UT staff by phone that there would be no need for a ceremony.
“Tennessee will be my next home,” Couch said on his Twitter account. “I am 1000% sure.”
When reached by the News Sentinel on Sunday night, Couch, who said he would not be doing interviews when he announced his commitment on Twitter, declined to be interviewed.
Couch (6-foot-2, 295 pounds) originally committed to UT in October, but changed his mind in a matter of hours because he wanted to see the campus.
“(The coaches) were OK with it,” Couch said before his visit. “They didn’t get mad or anything. They understood. They just felt like ‘We’ll see you in the fall, we’ll get you up here to see the place.’”
Couch, ranked the No. 11 junior-college prospect by Rivals.com, was one of five official visitors on campus this weekend, a group that included four-star wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett (Saginaw, Mich.), who committed to UT on Wednesday.
“I had the best time of my life,” Couch said on his Twitter account Sunday morning.
Couch, an Edgewater, Fla., native, had offers from schools across the country, but ultimately chose UT over South Carolina, Southern Cal, Kansas and Florida.
Because he redshirted his first year of junior college, Couch will be considered a redshirt sophomore when he enrolls during the summer. He is UT’s 19th overall commitment for the class of 2011 and the third defensive tackle, joining three-star Trevarris Saulsberry (Gainesville, Fla.) and two-star Allan Carson (Oxford, Ala.).
The Vols likely will be in the market for one more defensive tackle, as they’re in the mix for four-stars Gabe Wright (Columbus, Ga.) and Mickey Johnson (Covington, La.). Johnson has yet to name any favorites while Wright told 247sports.com Sunday that he currently considers UT his No. 2 choice behind Auburn.
Wright told the News Sentinel in October that he expects to take an official visit to UT in December or January.
Andrew Gribble covers Tennessee football and recruiting. He may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble/