Nashville (Tenn.) McGavock weakside defensive end Caleb Azubike admittedly was taken aback by the news Tuesday that he had received a fourth star and made the Rivals250.
"They both caught me off guard," Azubike said. "It's motivated me to work even harder. A lot of people are doubting me. I haven't been playing that long, but I think I know what I'm doing. I believe I'm a four-star."
Azubike, who is 6-feet-5, 240 pounds, didn't take up football until his sophomore year. He first joined the varsity in 2010, when he recorded 70 tackles and 17 sacks.
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This summer, Azubike committed to Vanderbilt.
Where does that pledge stand?
"I'm 100 percent committed to Vanderbilt," Azubike said. "I'm not backing off Vandy. Their record this year doesn't matter to me. When Coach [James] Franklin recruited me, he said it's not a one-year process. You don't build Rome in one day. You come in and consistently work, and you build a team. The record is irrelevant. I'm speaking for all the recruits."
According to Azubike, Mississippi State and Tennessee have continued to pursue him. The Bulldogs have offered; the Volunteers have not, but would like him to visit and write him often, he said.
"Before I committed, they wrote like once a week or every two weeks," Azubike said. "Now, it's five or six letters a day. I haven't called the [Tennessee] coaching staff, though."
Azubike said he has considered visiting other schools, but might not.
"Right now, it's a long shot," he said. "Right now, I don't want to visit other schools. I'm happy."
Azubike spoke with Commodores assistant Sean Spencer on Tuesday.
"He just congratulated me on being a four star," Azubike said. "He said to not listen to anyone who says I don't deserve it."