Rabun Gap, Ga.--Tennessee hosted 2022 6'6", 235lbs Edge Rusher Darren Agu over the weekend for an official visit. The Rabun gap standout athlete has been a prospect the Tennessee staff has kept their eyes on for the duration of the recruiting cycle. While still committed to Vanderbilt, Tennessee's pursuit of Agu has yet to let up. He gives the latest here before making a final decision during the early signing period.
This weekend's trip to Knoxville was not the first opportunity Agu has had to look at the Vols, but it served as an opportunity to explore more into the Tennessee program.
"I enjoyed spending time with the coaches and getting to learn more about them," Agu said of his trip to Rocky Top ."Getting to learn about what they think of me, how they see me playing in the future if I was to go to Tennessee. I enjoyed experiencing Tennessee, personally, being able to feel the vibe and the energy of the campus. Getting to visualize myself playing there, and I think that helped."
Once again, the Tennessee coaching staff displayed how much of a priority Agu is to them. The Volunteer staff, led by Mike Ekeler and Rodney Garner, have been clear how much of a priority Agu is for this 2022 recruiting class and how he would be used in Knoxville.
"I appreciate the fact that they have put in so much time and effort to recruiting me," Agu said of being made a priority by the Tennessee staff. "It feels good to be wanted. They are looking for a player that can potentially help them for the future, and I am open it."
"I definitely enjoyed Coach Ek's energy and the vibe he gave off," Agu continued. "He is definitely a coach you want to be around. I enjoyed learning more about Coach Garner and his career and what he has been able to do at all of the places he has coached, and how successful of a coach he is. I was able to kind of visualize what he could do with me. I also was able to get to know Coach Heup and understand more of what he wants to accomplish at the program in the future. The visit definitely helped me learn more about the coaches."
Josh Heupel will visit with Agu later this week on Thursday, which will allow him another opportunity to bond with the Tennessee coach. Agu also spent time with the Tennessee players during his official visit, which allowed him the opportunity to see the culture Heupel is building with his program.
"My player host was 'Mo' (William Mohan), and he was great," Agu said of his time spent with Tennessee players. "He answered all of my questions and showed me a lot. I was able to spend time with some of the other players, and I enjoyed the vibe they gave off. I definitely see myself being able o fit in with them and be myself with them on campus if I was to go there."
The Vols made a strong impression, but Agu has been committed to Vanderbilt since July for a reason. He had previously been committed to Notre Dame, where he built a strong relationship with new Vanderbilt Head Coach Clark Lea. After Lea was hired, the relationship transferred to Nashville, and Agu built a strong bond with defensive ends coach Jovan Haye as well.
"Vanderbilt is still neck and neck with Tennessee because I have been there three times, I enjoyed the campus, the city of Nashville, downtown, and I enjoyed that," Agu said. "I have a great relationship with Coach Haye, and I mean, Coach Lea, we have a pretty good relationship. I would say my best relationship is with Coach Haye, and we FaceTime often, and he always recruited me heavy even when I was committed to ND, so that is a big contributing factor."
The academic prestige Vanderbilt offers is another important factor for Agu.
"It is a very important factor, in my opinion," Agu said of the importance of the academic prestige at Vanderbilt. "I am looking at life after football because it isn't going to last forever. I know a degree from Vanderbilt can replace football after it is done, so that is definitely another big contributing factor."
So what is next for Agu?
"I will take the visit to Vanderbilt this weekend, then probably make my mind up on where I am going to sign before December 15th," Agu said of his plans.
As far as how he will handle the process, Agu has a pretty firm idea in mind as he does not want to jump to a final conclusion too fast.
"Pretty much when I sit down and let the visits sink in, ask for some advice from some more people to help me weigh out some pros and cons; I think I will be straight with where I want to go."