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Heupel, Vols' Assistants Check In On In-State Commitment Elijah Herring

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Elijah Herring was the first commitment to join the 2022 Tennessee recruiting class under Josh Heupel. Earlier this evening, with the NCAA contact period underway, Heupel, along with running backs coach Jerry Mack, outside linebackers coach/special teams coordinators Mike Ekeler, inside linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, and defensive backs coach Willie Martinez made the trip to Murfreesboro to check in on the coveted in-state commitment. He discussed this with Volunteer Country on Sports Illustrated here.

"It was great," Herring said of the Tennessee staff coming to visit him at home. "Just for that high caliber of a person (Heupel) to come to my house and spend time with my family ,it was great. Coach BJ, Coach Martinez, Coach Ekeler and Coach Mack came and chilled with us, and we ate. We talked life. It was great."

The time together was spent mixing casual conversation with football.

"They talked to me about the things they are doing at UT," Herring said. "Just how they are helping out the players get prepared with everything they need to get to the next level, how they are helping the parents of players by keeping them involved, so they won't have to worry as much. They told me about the renovations on the stadium and when they are going to get working on the facility."

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The Tennessee staff coming out early in the contact period to see Herring just re-iterated how much of a priority he is.

"It showed that they truly care, and that they want to come see me since I was the first recruit," Herring added. "It showed me I made the right decision."

Herring took a calculated risk by choosing Tennessee in April with the unknowns regarding the looming NCAA investigation, but it is one that he believes paid off.

"I feel like a genius right now," the touted linebacker said. "I feel like I made the best decision out of anybody. I feel like that I trusted myself, that I trusted my gut feeling. I prayed about it and made the right decision."

Herring will sign in December during the early signing period, then enroll at Tennessee in January.