Tennessee has just landed the commitment of one of its long-time top defensive back targets. Montgomery Catholic (Ala.) standout Jourdan Thomas announced his decision to commit to the Volunteers moments ago while he is on an official visit with the Vols. Prior to the announcement, he discussed the reasoning he chose the Vols.
"Tennessee was the right fit for me because of the coaching staff," Thomas told Sports Illustrated. "Coach Heupel, I believe in him, and I believe the program is changing and going in the right direction. Everything about it there is nice. I love the facility, I love the fan base, and I have a great relationship with all of the coaches and everybody there. I love Neyland Stadium, and I love the atmosphere inside that stadium."
The opportunity to play for defensive back guru Willie Martinez was a major key in the decision.
"That is very important because my dream is to be in the first round of the draft," Thomas said on the impact of playing for a coach like Martinez. "I believe he, Coach Banks, and Coach Heupel can help me do it. They have great experience from coaching at major colleges. He coached at Georgia, Miami, and places like that. I know that when I get into the system, they will know what to do with me and groom me into where I want to be."
Throughout his recruitment, Tennessee prioritized not only Thomas, but they recruited his mother as well. He was reminded of this during the last week when Tennessee came to Montgomery and spent time with his mother while he was at school. This was another key factor in his decision to choose Rocky Top.
"That is definitely one of the reasons they went to the top of this," Thomas said about the Vols prioritizing his mother as well. "They recruited not only me, the athlete, but they recruited her as well. They done a great job of recruiting her, and they have their own relationship outside of me. The coaches call her to just check on her, even without me being around. That is what I love about that."
So, what kind of player is Tennessee getting in Thomas?
"I am a player that can play all five positions in the backend," Thomas said. "Even when I get there, they have already talked about moving me around at Nickel, corner, and safety, of course, just to see where I can best fit. When they find where I best fit, that is where they will keep me. I am an aggressive player with very high IQ. I know plays before they happen, and I read the quarterbacks' eyes well, and they can't fool me. I am very fast running the alley. I am a solid tackler, and I make checks for the defense and put other players in the right spot. But right now, my goal is to get better; you know, I work all the time on different things like tackling and covering all the time. My goal is to get to some level of perfection. I want to be great in all areas of being a defensive back. I just want to be great."
Thomas will not sign his letter of intent until February, when his teammates sign since he is not able to enroll until the summer, but he is ready for his next chapter on Rocky Top.
"Building my legacy there," Thomas said on what he is most excited about. "Tennessee is a great traditional school. I love the tradition there. It is just going to be great being a part of it. Eric Berry was a first-round draft pick, and I am trying to be on his level."