The Tennessee Volunteers landed their first verbal commitment for the class of 2009 and it's a big one. Rivals100 wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes, arguably the top pure slot receiver in the nation, went on his second trip to Knoxville and came away a Vol.
"I feel really comfortable there, it's just a great place and felt like home," said the 6-foot-1, 178-pounder who also had offers from nearly 20 schools including UCLA, Oklahoma, Penn State and others. "I really like coach Fulmer, the atmosphere there is great and playing in front of fans like they have is exciting.
"I also really like the new wide receivers coach, Latrell Scott. He's really down-to-earth and loves to coach. He also doesn't promise you anything, you have to work for it. There's no guarenteed starting job or anything, you come in and compete but he feels I have a good shot to help out early. They said they're going to put me out wide, in the slot -- just move me around a lot and put me in situations where I can succeed."
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Stokes was also recruited by Larry Slade and came away impressed with the entire coaching staff as well as the academics at Tennessee.
"The Thornton Center has everything you need to be successful academically," he said. "The only way you won't graduate there is if you don't care and academics are important to me and I take them seriously. It was good to see that the football program does too."
Stokes said he still might take his five official visits although he's not sure but right now he's a Volunteer.
"That's where my heart is," he said. "And I've been there enough not to get caught up in everything. This wasn't a quick decision, this was feeling comfortable at a place for all the right reasons and playing in the best conference in the country."
As a junior, Stokes had 28 catches for 617 yards and six touchdowns. At the Premiere Showcase at Rutgers back in February, he took home offensive MVP honors and was clearly the best wideout at the event.
Stokes is friendly with Rivals100 quarterback Tom Savage from Pennsylvania and also hopes to get in touch with Tennessee targets like Dorian Bell, Corey Brown, Eric Shrive and Jelani Jenkins.
"I'm not the kind of guy who will push others to my school but I'll tell them what I liked about it," he said. "Maybe that will give them more interest to check it out."
Stokes was in Knoxville with his younger brother, Malik Stokes, a 2010 quarterback who is getting a lot of early interest.
"They liked Malik," he said. "They're going to be recruiting him as well."