- Corey Long, Reporter, RecruitingNation
While four-star linebacker Corey Vereen (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) isn't officially a member of the Tennessee program yet, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior is preparing for his visit Saturday as if he were playing.
"This game will set the tone for the Tennessee program nationally," Vereen said. "The Florida Gators are a rival and they have gotten the best of us the last few years but this year things are going to be different. The coaching staff is ready, the players are ready to make a statement, the recruits are ready. We all want to see the electricity back in Rocky Top."
Vereen committed to the Volunteers over the summer and will enroll in at the school in January. He will be looking for his close friend, ESPN 300 running back A.J. Turman (Orlando, Fla./Boone) when he arrives on Saturday.
The two speak frequently, and while Vereen says he would never try to force his friend into making a decision, he's hopeful that Turman will be a future teammate.
"A.J. is a real good friend and he's the type of player that any program would love to have because he works hard and he's a team-first guy," Vereen said. "Would I love to see him play with me at Tennessee? Absolutely. But I'm not going to push him or try to force him into making any sort of decision. I'm definitely going to speak with him and tell him why I love Tennessee and why I feel like the program is going to be back on top soon. But he's got to go to the place that he loves and that he feels right about."
Vereen has stayed true to his word of shutting down his recruitment after committing to Tennessee. He has six sacks through two games this season and is on pace for his goal of 25 sacks this season.
The linebacker said that only one program has reached out to him recently -- Clemson -- but it was quickly rebuffed.
"Clemson talked to my dad a while back but that was nothing," Vereen said. "I'm going to the University of Tennessee."