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Elite Defensive Lineman Victor Burley Sets Official Visit to Tennessee

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Warren Robins (Ga.) Defensive lineman Victor Burley is one of the top recruits in the 2023 class, regardless of position. The 6'5", 275lbs prospect holds double-digit offers and is being pursued by the nation's premier programs. Burely has been a long-time target for Tennessee defensive line coach Rodney Garner, and he will have the opportunity to spend more time with Garner this upcoming weekend. Burley, originally scheduled to be in Knoxville for Tennessee's Memorial Day cookout on an unofficial visit, will now take his first of five official visits this weekend. Burley confirmed this to Sports Illustrated on Sunday. 

Along with Garner, second-year head coach Josh Heupel has also been active in recruiting Burley, and the Vols managed to get him to campus on multiple occasions in 2021. The first-year turnaround on Rocky Top caught the attention pf the elite defender.

"Coach Heupel, I just love what he is doing with the program right now," Burley said in February about what stands out about Tennessee. "When he came in, Tennessee was struggling, but in his first year, he actually showed something." 

"With Coach Garner, he is a great human being and a great person to talk," Burely said at the time. "It always feels like family when I talk to him. It doesn't matter if it is on the phone or in-person or if we text; it just feels different."

Burley was last at Tennessee for their first Junior Day of the year in January, which allowed the Vols to gain ground to stay in this recruitment for the coveted prospect. 

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"That day (in January) was more about the person than football," Burley said during his February interview. "They had all of the stuff going on, but Coach Garner made sure I was a priority. That just really felt different. He is making sure that it is more than just about football. He talked to me about doing taxes and stuff, I was like, man, he is really putting me on things for life."

Garner's track record boasts the likes of Derek Brown and Marlon Davidson, among others, but it is not just the on-field production Garner gets from his players that stands out to Burley. The continued relationship after their college days end has caught his attention as well.

"One thing that really says something is that even though Coach has moved schools, Derek Brown and all of them, they still come to Tennessee and talk to him," Burley added at the time. "That just shows the type of relationship he has with his players, especially with them being in the NFL and taking the time out of their day to come to see him at Tennessee."

Getting Burley in for an official visit is crucial for the Vols, as he will likely use all of his visits by the end of June, then go into decision mode.

"First, I am looking for education, but with that, all of the schools that are recruiting me offer a good education," Burley previously said of what he is looking for in a school. "I am looking for relationships between coaches and players and coaches and coaches and a community where it feels like home. That is a big one. Last, it is about, does my family trust this college to leave me here for the next three to four years?"

Tennessee is battling Georgia, Clemson, Michigan State and Ohio State for the mid-Georgia prospect.