Erik Ainge, a 6-6, 200 pound quarterback from Hillsboro (Ore.) Glencoe has been leaning to Tennessee ever since he took his official visit to Knoxville in late November. What seemed inevitable finally happened last night when the strong armed signal caller announced for the Vols.
“It’s just such a great fit for me,” Ainge said. “Tennessee is a big time program with incredible fan support and tradition. At the same time, it’s a program that has a big need for quarterbacks and I think I’ll be able to come in and compete right away. They’ll probably take one more quarterback in this year’s class but that’s fine with me because I’m not afraid to compete.
“My official visit really sealed the deal for me. The game atmosphere was incredible and the passion the fans have for the team really blew me away. I started thinking how amazing it would be to be a part of that and I’m excited about my decision. It was tough to tell the other schools that I wouldn’t’ be going there but I’m relieved to have this decision behind me now.”
Ainge visited UCLA, Tennessee, Arizona State and Oregon in consecutive weeks and said he was just exhausted by his final trip. So just how good is Ainge?
In terms of arm strength, only Pittsburgh commit Anthony Morelli had a stronger arm of any quarterback we saw this past summer during the Nike Camp and EA SPORTS Elite 11 workouts. Ainge is a classic pocket passer who doesn’t move around much but can make that first guy miss. He’s accurate and throws a great deep ball. He’s also a smart kid and should be quicker than most young quarterbacks at learning a college system and adapting to the speed of the game.