Twelve hours wasn’t enough for four-star defensive end Anthony Chickillo to collect his thoughts about the abrupt firing of University of Miami football coach Randy Shannon.
It was enough time for big offensive guard Marcus Jackson to readjust his commitment level to the Hurricanes, but not enough for him to de-commit and change where he’d like to enroll early and start playing football in January.
Both Miami commitments — two of the Hurricanes’ seven for the class of 2011 — have been constant blips on Tennessee’s radar throughout their respective recruitments, and both didn’t rule out a potential switch to the Vols on Sunday in the wake of Shannon’s dismissal.
“I’m still kind of shocked by everything,” said Chickillo, a Tampa, Fla., native who is ranked the nation’s eighth-best weakside defensive end by Rivals.com. “I need to talk it over with my family.”
Chickillo, whose father, Tony, and his late grandfather, Nick, played for the Hurricanes, was first recruited by UT tight ends/special teams coach Eric Russell. He has since been acquainted with defensive line coach Chuck Smith, whom he referred to as “the best in the business” and “a great coach.”
Chickillo (6-foot-3, 226 pounds) tried to make it on campus for the Vols’ game in October against Alabama, but his travel plans fell through at the last second. When reached by the News Sentinel last month, Chickillo said “it’s just a matter of when” he would visit UT, as he planned to take all five of his allotted official visits at the request of his father.
Chickillo said Sunday he wasn’t sure where he would be going on any of his official visits, but still planned to take all five.
“I’m looking at (the Vols) but Tennessee hasn’t talked to me in a long time,” Chickillo said. “I don’t know where I stand with them.
“They don’t have that much talent there right now. I think Coach (Derek) Dooley is going to do a good job recruiting and bringing people in.”
Jackson, a Vero Beach, Fla., native who committed to Miami in February, took an official visit to UT earlier in the month for the Vols’ rout over Ole Miss. He left impressed, as he raved about the visit on his Facebook page and told the News Sentinel that UT’s coaches “gave me a lot to think about.”
Now, Jackson (6-foot-3, 307) said he’s “40 percent committed” to Miami, and will make his final decision in December. He plans to enroll early at whichever school he chooses.
Jackson, ranked the No. 13 guard in the country by Rivals, said Miami’s assistant coaches contacted him Sunday to explain the tenuous situation. UT’s coaches have been in contact throughout the process and likely won’t stop until Jackson makes his final decision.
“They said I could play early up there,” Jackson said earlier in the month. “That’s really important to me. I want to try to get in the mix as early as I can.”
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/