Four-star Bennettsville (S.C.) Marlboro County linebacker Robert Ayers ended one of the South's most heated recruiting battles on Tuesday.
He announced his college decision on live television in Mytle Beach at approximately 6:25 ET, picking Tennessee over South Carolina, Florida, Florida State and N.C. State.
"I'm going to Tennessee," Ayers said. "I feel comfortable with all the coaches there. I just felt like it was home."
South Carolina and Florida were considered early favorites for Ayers. The Gamecocks held the home state advantage, while the Gators had a connection with former USC assistant Charlie Strong now on the sidelines in the Swamp.
The Volunteers, however, closed with a bang and added one of the nation's elite defenders to an already strong signing class currently ranked No. 11 nationally.
Ayers (6-3, 218, 4.68) capped his senior season by recording 112 tackles and four interceptions. He is rated the No. 10 inside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com.