- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Michigan originally led for Daniel Helm (Chatham, Ill./Glenwood), but a tight end commitment for the Wolverines today filled the spot in their class.
That did not have as much of an impact on Helm as it might appear, though, as Ole Miss and Tennessee had taken over the top two spots on his list. On Tuesday evening, Helm committed to the Volunteers.
Deadlocked between Ole Miss and Tennessee, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Helm called up Vols coach Butch Jones for some clarity.
“I’ve been asking which way to go, school to choose,” Helm said, “and he basically shared his heart with me and said he’d like to coach me and said Tennessee would be a great fit for me.
“That’s what I was looking for.”
Helm visited Knoxville earlier this month, which helped spur the Volunteers toward the top of his list. At the time of the visit he had a top four of Michigan, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Florida, which has not offered.
More than the visit, however, it was the coaches that catapulted Tennessee. Helm gushed about the staff, specifically Jones, offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian and position coach Mark Elder.
Minster (Ohio) High School tight end Ethan Wolf also committed to Tennessee this month, and the staff told Helm they foresee a lot of two-tight end sets.
“They talked to me a lot about what they want to do and see me as,” Helm said. “I don’t know how it’ll parlay with the other tight end commit, but we’ll have a lot of healthy competition in our careers.”
A decision was not planned to come until just before the season at the earliest, but with positions filling up quickly, Helm was forced to make a commitment earlier than he planned. Still, he has no second thoughts about his pledge to Tennessee.
“I’m quite comfortable with this decision,” he said. “I don’t plan on changing unless something goes on with the coaching staff or something bad, which I don’t see happening.”