Tennessee hosted 2023 Savannah (Ga.) defensive lineman Tavion Gadson this weekend for an unofficial visit. Gadson released a top five schools list prior to the visit, including Minnesota, Georgia, Florida State, Kentucky and the Vols. Following the visit, Gadson talked about the trip to Rocky Top.
"I enjoyed meeting with more of the staff and I got a chance to see more of the campus, so I enjoyed that," Gadson said of what he enjoyed about the trip. "I enjoyed the time I spent talking with the coaches, and talking about specific things like with the head of player development, nutritionist, and the academics. It's always a pleasure to speak with Coach Heup."
Heupel's message to Gadson was direct and to the point during the visit.
"He just said how much Tennessee would benefit by having me there and how much I could benefit from being there," Gadson said of this.
Gadson was also able to spend time with Rodney Garner, whose track record the coveted defensive lineman has paid attention.
"We were just talking and getting to know each other and things like that," Gadson said of the conversation with Garner. "It was the first time my family came up so they got to know each other. So when we talked, we talked about the environment and what type of place it is and stuff. We shared stories about the past and opportunities that could be given. The thing I could benefit from learning and the goals I could reach being at the University."
Gadson has examined Garner's history as a developer dating back to his time at Auburn, and he noted it is something he pays attention to in all of the schools that he is being recruited by.
"Looking more at who has the coach produced and not necessarily what the school has produced because schools will have different coaches," Gadson said of this. So I look into the history of that coach and not the history of the school. That makes" a difference for me."
This could be the final visit Gadson makes before announcing his college decision, so what did this trip do for the Vols?
"It helped them a lot," Gadson said. "They're in my top 5 so it wasn't a lot they need help with but it most definitely did." They were late in my process but they showed the love that they have for me, they showed the benefits they have for me being there, the showed me it wasn't just about football."
As Gadson continues to work towards a decision, what is he looking for in a school?
"One would be education. Two would be playing time," he said of this. "I got to know I have a good chance to come in and contribute, not starting because I know I'm going to work hard enough to start but I know I'm going to have people in front of me. So I'd like to get some good playing time by my sophomore season at the latest. My family buys into my decision, especially my Mom and my Dad but like all of them buy into my decision. Location does but it can be an exception depending on how I feel, that's why Minnesota made my top 5."