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Breaking: Elite 2024 ATH Echols Details Decision to Choose Tennessee

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Tennessee hosted a massive recruiting weekend featuring elite prospects in the 2023 and 2024 class. While the Vols are working to close out top recruits for this cycle, they just landed a public commitment from elite athlete Jonathan Echols.  The IMG Academy prospect measures in at 6’5”, 215lbs and is widely considered one of the nation’s more dynamic players. He has offers from multiple to schools to play edge rusher or tight end. He has committed to Tennessee as a tight end. Prior to the decision, he went in-depth on why Tennessee was right for him with Volunteer Country.

"They are great school that is close to home," Echols said of why Tennessee was the choice for him. "Getting the chance to play in Coach Heup's offense and hearing how they want to build the class around me was huge. Being the first 2024 commit was huge because I will get to help recruit my own class and all of the top guys I want to play around."

Echols spent multiple days at Tennessee last weekend, including time at the Vols  camp on Sunday evening, when he had a chance to work with Tennessee’s coaching staff. Shortly after the camp, Echols called the Vols staff and informed them of his decision to commit to them. Needless to say, the Vols coaching staff was excited to hear the news. 

"They were very excited," Echols said of the reaction. "That was a big deal to me. It was huge. To hear a head coach like that was excited about getting me was huge."

The multi-day unofficial visit allowed Echols the opportunity to be around current Tennessee commitments and top targets which played another big role in his decision. 

"Being able to see all of the guys they are trying to bring in and all of the guys that are looking into Tennessee, I know we can be able to go win a national championship in a couple of years," Echols said of this. "That was huge for me."

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Having the chance to be coached up by Alex Golesh and Tennessee's tight end assistants during the camp session was another key decision in him choosing the Vols early on. 

"They are all smart people," Echols said of this. "They coached me hard and I really liked that. Just with that, the offense they run, and me being the tight end that I am, I feel like it will be huge."

Echols belief in Josh Heupel was also a key factor in his decision because he knows he will not have to worry about quarterback play.

"I talked to Coach Heup and he said regardless of what school he has been at, he has always had a quarterback," Echols said of this. "Even when Nico leaves, I know that I will be able to have a quarterback. Nico is the top guy in the class, so that is really huge for me."

Now that Echols is locked in for the 2024 class, he plans to help build the class around him.

"I am recruiting all of my IMG guys," Echols said. "From there on, we will have to see who I recruit. I am just telling them it is different from another school I have been to. The culture and the people are different. They love you."

Echols caught 31 passes for 187 yards last fall and seven touchdowns at Heard County (Ga.). He played both ways, so his touches were more limited due to this but he proved to be a mismatch nightmare, while also rushing the ball and playing quarterback.