The nation's No. 1 running back, Richmond (Va.) Hermitage star Derrick Green, took his first official visit to Knoxville to see the Tennessee Volunteers battle the Florida Gators. While the Vols lost the game, they might have won over Green and have certainly vaulted themselves near the top of his list.
"The visit was great," said the 6-foot-0, 220-pounder. "It was crazy, the atmosphere was crazy and the fans showed me mad love. So many of them seemed to know who I was and took the time out to make me feel wanted. And the crowd was insane, it was the loudest I've ever seen a place."
"They were both good guys, they spoke highly of the program and A.J. is just a huge linebacker," said Green. "I thought the team played hard until the end which was important to me. The loss didn't matter to me, it was more about seeing how they use the running back, how hard they play and if they need help at my position."
And Green's impression was very favorable.
"I like the way they use their backs, they have a lot of inside runs but they also throw a lot of screen passes," he said. "They need a running back, that's what the coaches told me. I talked to coach Dooley and Graham about that and they said they need a big, power back to make a difference."
After arriving Saturday, Green spent a lot of time with the coaches and players.
"I pretty much got to see what they do to prepare for a big game, sat in on some meetings and all of that and I watched the game prep," he said. "I also got to see the walk, the walk was amazing. I have never seen anything like that."
Green was at the Tennessee-Vanderbilt game last year and has seen home games at Ohio State, Virginia Tech and Virginia but nothing compared to what he saw Saturday.
"With College Gameday being there, the night game atmosphere and how loud the crowd was, it was the best atmosphere I've ever been around," he said. "Tennessee is very much in the mix, this visit really helped a lot. There is no question I will consider them until the end."
And perhaps no one made a bigger impact on Green then offensive tackle Antonio Richardson, a sophomore standout for the Vols.
"They had just lost the game, it was a tough defeat and they played their hearts out but he took the time to pull me aside right afterwards," Green explained. "He told me what they were trying to build there, how important I was to their future and how much he wanted to block for me. It was a great speech honestly, I was really honored. To do that for a recruit after a tough loss was amazing."
Next up for Green is an official visit to Michigan on Oct. 19 when they host Michigan State. After that he's not sure what's next.
"I am looking at officials to Auburn, Oregon, Ole Miss and maybe Virginia Tech or Georgia," he said. "I'll start scheduling those soon. Virginia Tech I can do unofficially and I'm not sure about Georgia yet, so those two are unclear but the others I would like to schedule but it's all up in the air right now."
And what is the most important thing for Green?
"It's the depth chart," he said. "I want to go to a school that needs a big running back to play right away."
Green is ranked as the No. 13 prospect overall in the nation.