This past weekend, Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen linebacker Gionni Paul took an official visit to see Rocky Top. During his time on campus at Tennessee, Paul learned a great deal about Derek Dooley's program.
"They have a lot of good character people that surround his program," Paul said. "They are very humble. They treated me real good, with a lot of respect and a lot of love. I liked it out there."
On the visit, the 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker was accompanied by his entire family. They also came away impressed with what they saw.
"They liked it," Paul said. "They had a lot of good things to say about Tennessee."
Tennessee marked Paul's third official visit. He had previous taken trips to Louisville and Arizona State. This coming weekend he is traveling to Texas Tech. As for the fifth and final official visit, at this point it is between two schools from the SEC.
"It will be between Auburn and LSU," Paul said. "Whichever one doesn't get an official visit will get an unofficial. I plan to take a few unofficial too. Some places I want to see are Michigan, West Virginia, Rutgers, and Ole Miss."
Paul, who intends to drag the process out to Signing Day, has had a list that has changed regularly throughout the process. While he doesn't claim a sole leader, he said a few schools are emerging towards the top of the pack at this point in the process.
"Louisville and Texas Tech have been stepping up with a lot of interest," Paul said. "LSU and Auburn are up there. Those four really. Tennessee was a real good visit but they are not quite up there right now. We will see what happens over these next months."
He said that those schools all share similar characteristics that are appealing to him.
"I like their character, coaching staffs, training staffs," Paul said. "I see myself fitting into those programs and as a place where I can compete for early playing time and be an impact player."
So far, Paul said he has hosted Tennessee, Louisville, West Virginia, and Michigan for in-home visits. Arizona State is set to visit on Thursday.