The last time Tennessee ventured into Oklahoma to land a big-time blue-chip player it was signing of five-star receiver Robert Meachem from Tulsa Booker T. Washington. This the Vols landed another Tulsa star, this time from Tulsa Union.
Chase Nelson, who is 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, said he picked Tennessee "three or four days ago." The three-star strongside defensive end was also recruited by Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota, Texas Tech, UCLA and several others, but he only took visits to Texas Tech, OU and UT.
"I committed to Tennessee three or four days ago," Nelson said. "I just thought it was a good fit for me. I visited on December 10, and I just liked the coaching staff and the atmosphere. I felt like it was just a good place for me to be."
"There were a lot of schools interested, but it came down to Oklahoma, Tennessee, and UCLA. I called the other two schools and told them about my decision."
Union coach Bill Blankenship said Tennessee is getting a good one.
"Chase is just one of those special bodies with long arms and tons of talent," Blankenship said. "You add that with the fact that he has great grades, and he was a big target for a lot of schools.
"Defensive linemen are hard to find anyway, but if you find a guy like Chase with all the physical characteristics and the grades, he's going to be a solid kid."
Nelson was recruited by Tennessee defensive end coach Steve Caldwell, and the news of his pledge was well received.
"When I told the coaches they were just real excited about me coming," Nelson said. "They told me they were looking forward to having me on campus.
"I don't want to start talking about what I'm going to do there, but hopefully I get a chance to play early. I want to contribute somehow if I can, whether it's special teams, defensive end, or whatever. It doesn't matter to me."