Tennessee hosted Briarwood Christian (Ala.) quarterback Christopher Vizzina in November of 2021, and he is now set to return to Knoxville this weekend for Tennessee's first Junior Day of the season, he tells Volunteer Country. Vizzina also tells Volunteer Country, he will visit Clemson the following weekend on the 29th.
Tennessee and the signal-caller from the Yellow Hammer state have been building a strong relationship for sometime.
"I've been talking to Coach Halzle on the phone for a while now, but I've never really met him in person until yesterday," Vizzina said about the Tennessee quarterback coach. "So, you know, getting to meet them in person was awesome because sometimes you just feel like you don't really know who you're talking to unless you actually meet them in person. So that was awesome. Yesterday they told me that my 2023 class, like recruiting class, it's gonna be very crucial for them. Because they think they're building the right culture over there, and I saw that yesterday, and as they get more talented recruits and stuff, they are going to start building this thing. They're going to actually be able to compete. I mean, they competed yesterday, but towards the end, you can tell Georgia's talent just kind of pulled away, but Tennessee in the next couple years, when they get these big-time recruits like I know they will, they're going to start competing in all these huge games. So like he was telling me, I could be the quarterback to start the 23 class if I wanted to be it."
To hear that from Halzle on the first time the two met in person meant a lot to him.
"It means a lot because obviously, growing up in the South, you know, SEC football, every school around it you like, you know, you dream of playing there," he said. "To know that Tennessee, like would like me to be the quarterback there means the world. I am not for sure I am their top guy or anything, but they did tell me that I could be a key part of the 23 class. So that means a lot."
While Vizzina may not be the top quarterback on the board for the Vols as they continue to recruit California standout Nico Iamaleava, it is apparent they still have interest in Vizzina as Halzle even recently stopped in to watch one of his basketball games, once the contact period opened.
The message from the staff obviously made an impression on Vizzina leading into his visit in November, but once he made it to the game, so did the atmosphere and effort on the field.
"So the story is I got there kind of kind of late because the traffic was pretty bad when I got there," Vizzina said of the game-day experience at the time. "So I didn't really get to meet any of the coaches beforehand, but I got there at the perfect time, like five minutes before kickoff. And so I got there, and then they take you down the tunnel as you check-in for recruiting, and you just go out on the field first thing, and I've never seen so many people at a football game in my entire life. So that's what stood out to me first. Then I feel like they are building the right culture there. I mean, you can just tell they're doing the right things. I mean, it's not there yet, but you can tell like, all the coaches are bought in. And the players, you can tell the players don't ever quit. Like, that's something they preach to them every day is what you can tell. You know, I saw that from the game yesterday, too; they never quit. The culture is really the biggest thing that stood out to me."
The Tennessee staff has been transparent with Vizzina about how the quarterback position works in their offense, and he had a chance to see that unfold during Saturday's visit.
"Coach Heupel has been telling me the quarterback at Tennessee is going to be able to control the game," he said about watching Hendon Hooker run the offense. "I saw that yesterday, I mean, like, quarterbacks make checks and reads, pre-snap, and then he's running the show, which is like what I want to be. I would want to take control of the offense. At Tennessee, that's something they're going to allow you to do, and that's, that's very attractive to me."
While Vizzina is just getting back into the recruitment process heading into his senior year, he previously discussed with Volunteer Country on what he was looking for in a school.
"From a school standpoint, I mean, the biggest thing is I want to go somewhere I know this is where God wants me to be," he said in November. "Somewhere I could spread the word about him and become a more high-character person. But like, I want to play at a high level of college football. I mean, like the SEC, that's, that's high level. So I mean, you know, kind of from a program standpoint, that's what I want. I really couldn't tell you what I wanted out of the university. Obviously, I want a great education. I just want it to be a family feeling and somewhere I can be myself. I haven't been to schools enough times to sit down and say that is the school where I can be myself out, but that is what those official visits are for."
Vizzina now holds over 20 Division 1 offers, including Auburn, Clemson, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Mississippi State and numerous others.
Continue to follow Volunteer Country as we will have coverage from Tennessee's star studded Junior Day.