Gaulden commits, but what about Adoreé, Barnett?
Rashaan Gaulden was expected to commit to Tennessee months ago. When that didn’t happen, Vols fans began to fret.
No worry. The three-star safety from Spring Hill (Tenn.) Independence finally committed during a visit last weekend.
“I’ve always just really liked UT,” the state’s No. 10 prospect according to 247 said. “As soon as [head] coach [Butch] Jones got there, I’ve felt the chemistry between me and him. I felt like there was no reason to wait to commit.”
When asked about possibly committing to Tennessee earlier this spring, Gaulden said, “I was just going to commit when I was ready. Coach Jones just told me from Day One, ‘Commit when you’re ready’…It’s a good situation for me and a my family.”
Gaulden didn’t feel any pressure because the Vols have had a strong recent run of commitments. With four defensive back commitments, another group of athletes that can end up in the secondary and 24 commitments, Gaulden is ready for the competition. He refuses to shy away from it.
“That’s a good thing,” Gaulden said of the class that has been ranked No. 1 by 24/7 Sport’s composite rankings. “We’ve got so much depth. I”m pretty confident when I get to Tennessee, I’m going to work my butt off and hopefully be at get to the top of that lineup.
“I’m not worried about any of the recruits they’re bringing in. With my potential and my drive, I can really see myself on the field early…We’re just trying to bring back D.B. University at Tennessee.”
Tennessee’s depth chart and proximity to Gaulden’s home were significant factors in his decision. Now, he’ll go from recruit to recruiter. He said he’s particularly close to defensive back Rico McGraw at Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth and receiver Josh Malone from Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp.
Gaulden, who is 6-foot-1 and 178 pounds, said he is often compared to former UT All-American safety Eric Berry, who now plays with the Kansas City Chiefs. Like Berry, Gaulden has used Baltimore Raven safety Ed Reed to mold his game.
“I have really good man-to-man coverage,” Gaulden said. “I’m a pretty good run stopper. I just like to come down and hit. that’s the name of my game, ‘Hitting’, all the way…Contact is nothing for me. That’s what I like to do best is hit…I just like [Reed's] drive and passion for the game. He’s a true student of the game…I eventually want to be at that stage.”
Along with Jones, credit cornerbacks coach Tommy Thigpen for securing Gaulden. The first-year Tennessee assistant coach played a key role.
“He’s one of the best recruiters I’ve had,” said Gaulden, who also considered South Carolina and Vanderbilt. “He’s down to earth. He’s extremely funny. He’s really cool.”
To hear the entire conversation I had with RaShaan, click HERE.
To get the latest on some key targets, including Adoreé Jackson and Andrew Williams click the next arrow: