Even if he tried, Devrin Young couldn’t shake memories from Wednesday.
The University of Tennessee football program thrust the 5-foot-7, 160-pound tailback from Bearden High School to the top spot of its recruiting board with an offer early in the day. What ensued was a deluge of fan, friends, family and media attention for hours.
Placidity returned by day’s end, though. And Young polished off his Wednesday with a little late-night homework before hitting the hay knowing he had committed to play for Tennessee.
One of the more highly acclaimed local prep stars in Knoxville since his 2008 sophomore season, Young became the 16th commitment for the 2011 Tennessee recruiting class.
“I definitely will not forget Sept. 29, 2010, man,” said Young. “Talk about being a star for a day.”
Tennessee offered him during his second-block class Wednesday morning. Young needed only a few hours to contemplate the offer, and he issued Tennessee his pledge after practice and after meeting with his family.
“It’s going to be fun (at Tennessee),” he said. “Me and my mom were talking, that maybe it would re-unite the Tennessee fans, because they’ll feel like they’ll have someone to call their own once again.
“It’s just fun to know there are a lot of people on my side. I thank God.”
Young’s athleticism is second to none in East Tennessee. He was runner-up in the 100-meter dash at the 2010 Class AAA state track meet, losing by 0.01 seconds.
Explosive lateral movements and power complement Young’s north-and-south speed. Quickness and juking ability mask what he lacks in size.
Maryville High School football coach George Quarles, who has won seven state titles in the last 10 years, said in 2009 that Young “may be the most explosive guy I’ve seen on this (Maryville) field.” That field has seen the likes of former Alcoa star and current Kentucky junior wideout Randall Cobb.
Young is living up to the hype this season, rushing for 1,006 yards and 15 touchdowns on just 57 carries. He’s scored on two receptions, as well.
But he may be utilized initially at Tennessee in the special teams department. He has returned three of his six kickoffs for scores for Class 6A Bearden (5-0), averaging 52 yards per attempt.
“They want me to do special teams,” said Young. “And they want to use me a little bit at receiver, at running back and a little bit at slot. That’s A-OK with me.”
Stanford jumped on Young first, extending a scholarship offer early during his junior season. But Stanford received commitments from other tailbacks, leaving Young looking for other options.
Carson-Newman offered Young, as Division I programs mulled over whether Young’s size would be an issue.
Mississippi State recently requested film from the Bearden coaching staff, but Tennessee swooped in Wednesday.
“In the back of my mind, I’m thinking, ‘I can play Division I,’ ” said Young. “I just needed that one coach to give me a chance and that opportunity, to overlook my size and see what I bring to the table. Thank God that happened.”
Punter Britton Colquitt (2005-2008) was the last Bearden player to accept a scholarship offer to Tennessee.
Young was the News Sentinel’s 2008 PrepXtra sophomore of the year and the 2009 KIL offensive player of the year.
“First thing out of my mouth (after getting offered) was, ‘Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, God,’ ” he said. “It’s just a huge, huge relief. I can put the worry and doubt behind me now and just strive to finish up my senior year strong and look forward to playing in the SEC.”