January 25, 2009

Will WR Jeffery open up recruitment?

St. Matthews, S.C., wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has been pledged to Southern California since last fall.

However, some coaching changes at USC and pressure from other more location-friendly programs like Tennessee and his home state South Carolina Gamecocks have forced Jeffery to take a few visits. He was in Knoxville over the weekend, but did the Vols do enough to sway his decision?

"We'll see on signing day," Jeffery said with a laugh. "They are up there. I had a really good time. I liked everything about it. They got nice facilities. I really liked the players and coaches. They all got a long and were a close-knit unit."

On a scale of 1-10, Jeffery rated Tennessee a nine. He got to spend time with Tennessee's top Vol, Lane Kiffin, and the message was simple from Tennessee's new head coach: early playing time is an option.

"We talked quite a bit," said Jeffery, who did indicate he's ready for the recruiting process to conclude. "We talked about how I could play there. He told me that I'd have the chance to play right away if I came in and worked hard. Playing early is important to me."

He was hosted by Palmetto State native William Brimfield, whom Jeffery said "he told me I needed to come up there." The ovation that the prospects received at the Tennessee basketball game really left an impression on Jeffery.

"That was pretty nice," Jeffery said. "Even though we were at a basketball game, they took notice that the coaches and recruits were in the building. That was nice."

He maintains that he is still committed to Southern Cal and he doesn't expect pressure to stay home when he visits South Carolina next weekend. He's looking to play early and often, but most of all, he's looking to improve his game so he can play at the NFL level someday.

"I'm looking at what option will give me the best chance to get to the next level," Jeffery said. "I know that I need to improve and I want to go somewhere that will make me a better player.

"I mean, catching the ball and trying to score every time and going up and get the ball (are strengths). But I think i need to improve in everything, personally. "

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