One team has surged in front in the recruitment of Nashville (Tenn.) McGavock junior defensive end Caleb Azubike. And it happens to be a program that isn't far from home.
"You could say Vanderbilt is my leader right now," Azubike told Rivals.com on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder has visited the Commodores twice, and came away impressed each time, particularly with the program's first-year staff.
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"They just treat me like I'm already part of the team," Azubike said. "I have a great connection with [Sean Spencer], the defensive line coach. He's like a second father to me in a way. Even the players …. I have a great connection with them."
Vanderbilt is one of two programs that have offered. Boston College is the other.
"I really believe Vanderbilt is going to a bowl game," Azubike said. "They're working twice as hard as they ever have. This is coming from the mouths of some of the players."
Boston College also is a factor.
"They would have to be my second team," Azubike said. "Their academics, their football tradition - I like the winning tradition and I like their defense overall."
In addition to Vanderbilt and Boston College, Azubike is hearing from Georgia, Mississippi State, Northwestern, South Carolina, Stanford, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Azubike will visit the Vols on April 2.
"Vanderbilt is recruiting me the hardest," Azubike said. "If I had to guess, I would say either Tennessee or Virginia will be next [to offer]. I believe it will be UT. I have a lot of schools that really want to offer, but they all want me to come [visit] first."