Four-star DT Couch changes mind, commits to Vols

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/

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Comments » 92

chrisw2967 writes:

This is a big get and a need.Welcome to UT young man

Vols_For_The_Win writes:

Welcome Mr. Couch!!! Great get coach Dooley!

jzt writes:

Great catch at a definete need position. Go Vols

ctownvol writes:

Recruiting is really gaining momentum. Keep it up Coach!

Texassean writes:

This one will help a LOT! Hopefully the momentum will continue for our recruiting!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

WOOOHOOO!!!

volsportsfan writes:

When oposing offenses get inside our five yrd line it seems like an automatic touchdown. A guy like this gives us a better chance at allowing 3 instead of 7. Huge get! Go VOLS!!

tnsportsman writes:

HELL YES, HUGE! GO CDD and Staff, good job!

VOLS, get these next 2 WINS! 6 & 6 and the Music City Bowl would be a great success for all OUR VOLS after the S--T you guys have gone through!

GO VOLS, BEAT the Vaaanderbilt Commode-a-dores!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

IBleedOrange444 writes:

Very nice to get somebody we may be able to plug in immediately next year at DT. Huge pick up by the coaching staff!! Welcome to Big Orange Country Marcus and DeAnthony.

VolinCalif writes:

Well I think the Cow's are just starting home. If we win out any where near the way we played the last two games there will be a stampede coming. What kid can't see what is coming up the pike with all these freshmen and this coaching staff. I'd sure want to be a part of it.

Vols_For_The_Win writes:

How many years of eligibility does he have left?

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

I know most of you is familiar with MC but I will go ahead and post anyway:

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football...

Huttdawg100 writes:

We're picking up steam!!! This guy is going to be a beast Jesse Mahelona style!!!

Loud_Proud writes:

WOW. Can this weekend get ANY better??

murrayvol writes:

in response to ctownvol:

Recruiting is really gaining momentum. Keep it up Coach!

Recruiting really needs to gain momentum. If the Vols can keep it going thru a bowl game, it'll be a huge jump start for 2011.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Loud_Proud:

WOW. Can this weekend get ANY better??

Lets hope it stays this good.

Hillbilly_Orange writes:

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!

ctownvol writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Recruiting really needs to gain momentum. If the Vols can keep it going thru a bowl game, it'll be a huge jump start for 2011.

Yes sir. I really think better days are coming, and coming sooner than later.

volsnationalchamps writes:

Great week in recruiting... Couch and Arnett to this class. It is really starting to come together. We have some great young talent and with this class adding to it. We are on verge of great things. Great job coaches. Go Vols!!!

wazzya69vol writes:

I'm excited about these recruits. Great job coach(es)!! It feels so great that we're picking up steam on two "fronts"--recruiting and winning. We are UT, and our foes in the SEC better hunker down--'cause we're coming.

VolWoman writes:

ESPN ranks him a 5 star. Either way, a huge get for the Vols. I really like these coaches & the players seem to love & respect them.

tree_em_smokey writes:

This is what we need....The big uglies! Welcome Mr. Couch to Big Orange Country! Now bring on Antonio Richardson! GBO!!!

utjunkie writes:

GREAT! Now lets sign 5 more just like him! DT's & DB's thats our primary need in this class.

DebtisDumb writes:

YAHOOOOOOO

BillyVol writes:

It's great to be a Vol.

Let the Troll's beware. I am waiting for you.

nocleats writes:

in response to utjunkie:

GREAT! Now lets sign 5 more just like him! DT's & DB's thats our primary need in this class.

Need more DTs just like him, give me another Juco and a couple more HS studs.. Also Tn needs a stud Juco lb and a speed guy. Go Vols

TopTenn writes:

It all started in Memphis. Keep it going Vols. Beat Vandy and Kentucky.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to FormerMarine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hopefully, they disappeared into thin air.

nocleats writes:

Heres to hoping Tenn does not have to wait to the 2nd week of fall camp for the clearinghouse to decide on his eligibility. Make your grades son!

dgcarter43 writes:

Great News!! If UT can persuade Giorgio Newberry to change his commitment, and as I understand it, the Vols are the only ones that have a chance, that will be two that can have an immediate impact. There is a very good chance a couple of their present commits could be upgraded to four stars, and, by landing two or three highly ranked players, coach Dooley can have a top ten or very near recruiting class. I believe next year will be an eight win season and the Vols will be competing for championships after that. Go Vols!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to dgcarter43:

Great News!! If UT can persuade Giorgio Newberry to change his commitment, and as I understand it, the Vols are the only ones that have a chance, that will be two that can have an immediate impact. There is a very good chance a couple of their present commits could be upgraded to four stars, and, by landing two or three highly ranked players, coach Dooley can have a top ten or very near recruiting class. I believe next year will be an eight win season and the Vols will be competing for championships after that. Go Vols!!!

Newberry would be a gift!!! There is always a chance.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

Great catch coach with couch.

Hounddog writes:

I'll say it once more...brick by brick. Hounddog

utfpmd writes:

in response to Vols_For_The_Win:

How many years of eligibility does he have left?

3 years eligibility to be played in 3 years.

gwbask writes:

This is a great get! Will help immediately

Mobbdeep4life writes:

Good news. It would be nice to get a commitment from Johnson too. Then if Wright chooses UT.....GBO!!!!!

midnite__VOL writes:

Wonder if there are any punt returners or at least punt catchers available.

Vols_For_The_Win writes:

in response to utfpmd:

3 years eligibility to be played in 3 years.

Thank you! I couldn't find anything that said what year he is. So he's a Frosh, transferring here for his Soph year then.

BillyVol writes:

in response to midnite__VOL:

Wonder if there are any punt returners or at least punt catchers available.

Two great possibilities have committed.

BillyVol writes:

in response to midnite__VOL:

Wonder if there are any punt returners or at least punt catchers available.

DeAnthony Arnett, and Devrin Young

Ty4Vols writes:

Great job recruiting by Hinshaw and Smith. This was a guy we couldn't afford to lose. They stuck with him after he decommitted and sealed the deal this weekend. The Vols look like they are turning the corner both on the field and in recruiting.

Down_The_Field writes:

big pick up.

chuck smith is a big asset to this staff.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Mobbdeep4life:

Good news. It would be nice to get a commitment from Johnson too. Then if Wright chooses UT.....GBO!!!!!

If you are referring to A.J.Johnson, then we have a committment from him..He is the only Johnson I know of unless you are speaking of someone else.

givehim6 writes:

Coach Smith did a pretty good job this year with a thin, inexperienced D line, not to mention the injuries at the beginning of the year. Cannot Wait to See what he can do with these guy back, the young with a year of SEC experance, and a few quality depth players.

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

This is great news; we need all the big DT's we can get. Add him to Malik Jackson who will probably pack on about 20 lbs for next year; this is a huge get. Need a couple more for depth purposes.

volfan#207874 writes:

An old saying goes, "don't count your chickens before they hatch." It is not enough for these young high school players to commit verbally or tweeting, twittering etc. It is when you actually get their signature on a piece of paper on national signing day, that we can rejoice. That being said, I say, "Welcome aboard young man and we look forward to your signature on national signing day when you commit to the Vols."

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

If you are referring to A.J.Johnson, then we have a committment from him..He is the only Johnson I know of unless you are speaking of someone else.

I think he's referring to Mickey Johnson, 4 star DT from Louisiana. He had us in his top 5 as of October. I've heard he might be having some issues with his grades.

ibvolman writes:

in response to BillyVol:

DeAnthony Arnett, and Devrin Young

You are right!!! I believe that Beardon is listing Dervin as an actual 4.3 speed right now. I may be wrong about that, but in Fridays game against DB in Kingsport, he looked every bit like a 4.3 speed guy. Rivals still has him listed as 4.5, which is still pretty fast.

ibvolman writes:

I wonder where all the Gator troll are, telling us that they didn't want Couch, and that he wouldn't make it at UF because he was a star short? Oh, ....that's right. They are still trying to figure out how with all thier 5 star talent that they could lose to SC.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Good job coaches! This is major as he has JC experience! Chuck Smith will have him ready! Welcome to Big Orange Country!

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