Shaq Wiggins talks about the Vols


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Shaq Wiggins couldn't help but wonder what might have been.

Had Tennessee not had a mass exodus of coaches following the 2011 season, the nation's 36th overall prospect could easily see himself draped in orange one day.

“It was Tennessee, Virginia and Michigan,” he said of his leaders earlier this year. “If Coach (Lance) Thompson had stayed here, I'd probably be committed right now.”

Yet Thompson didn't stay. After he was passed over for the defensive coordinator position at Tennessee, the defensive line coach returned to Alabama to coach outside linebacker. Subsequently, Wiggins committed to Georgia in February.

Now the Vols are trying to get back in the race with Wiggins. It's probably a good sign that he showed up for this week's camp on Tennessee's campus. The reviews were positive, especially when it came to cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley, who is often referred to as “D.A.”.

“It was real good,” Wiggins said Tuesday of the visit. “The coaches were real cool. Working with Coach D.A., you can tell he knows his stuff.”

Wiggins, who plays at Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek, maintains that he is still a solid to commitment to Georgia, but he wanted to check out Knoxville, which he called an exciting place.

“Just coming back and taking a couple of more looks at Tennessee and the new coaching staff, to see what they're like,” said the nation's sixth best cornerback prospect in the nation.

Wiggins said he spoke to Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley during his visit. He added that he continues to evaluate his options because he has seen friends stuck at a school after a coaching change.

“They kind of made mistakes and coaches left ... I'm just trying not to make those mistakes,” said the 5-foot-10, 165-pound prospect.

Wiggins said he plans to take all five of his official visits this fall. Georgia, Florida, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Tennessee and Ole Miss are the most likely destinations. Just before visiting Knoxville, Wiggins was in Nashville. He was quite impressed.

“Their program is on the rise,” the four-star prospect said. “Coach [James] Franklin is a real cool guy ... Those guys are working extra, extra hard. Harder than some of the schools I've been around. You can tell that they're going to have a good season.”

Wiggins also visited South Carolina, but wasn't nearly as impressed, particularly with Columbia.

“South Carolina, I know they're not going to like this, but it's kind of boring,” he said.

Wiggins has two good friends on Tennessee's roster: receiver Da'Rick Rogers and tailback Rajion Neal. He said Rogers gave the Vols glowing reviews.

“It's a good place to be and the people around you are very good and they want you to be here for the right reasons,” Wiggins said, recalling what Rogers told him.

Wiggins wasn't the only Georgia commitment in Knoxville on Tuesday. Teammate Demarre Kitt was also at the Tennessee camp. The 2014 receiver prospect declined to speak to reporters.