Staff Photo by Allison Kwesell Calhoun's Nash Nance gains yardage in the first half of the Class AA state championship football game between Calhoun and Buford at the Georgia Dome.
CALHOUN, Ga. -- Nash Nance has a single word to describe the man who will coach him next year in college: integrity.
Nance, the prolific quarterback from Calhoun High School, committed to Tennessee on Thursday, one day after decommitting from Vanderbilt. After taking an official visit to the Knoxville school last weekend, Nance and his family met with new coach Derek Dooley and were immediately impressed.
"Coach Dooley had already broken down my abilities and future as a Vol," said Nance, who passed for 3,018 yards and 29 touchdowns this season for the Georgia Class AA runners-up. "He was so easy to talk to and he is very driven. He is a man of intregity like his father (former Georgia coach Vince Dooley), and I truly felt that I could go see Coach Dooley any time with any issue, personal or football related.
"That is something that is very important to me. In my opinion, the Volunteer Nation has a new head coach with integrity, extreme drive to be successful and is a common man all young athletes will relate to and will be excited to go into battle with every Saturday."
Nance, who had been committed to Vanderbilt since June, met Wednesday with Commodores coach Bobby Johnson and informed him of his change of plans.
"It was a difficult decision for me, but I told Coach Johnson last night after a visit in my home that I was decommitting from Vanderbilt," the player said. "It was very emotional for me and my family. After visiting Tennessee and hours of prayer, I feel that Tennessee is a better fit for me.
"I was also very impressed with the new Haslam Business Buidling and all that it offers academically. I am so relieved and blessed to have this opportunity."
Nance's five-star Calhoun teammate, receiver Da'Rick Rogers, is still committed to Georgia, though he accompanied Nance on his visit to UT. Rogers has stated that he will announce for Georgia or Tennessee at a 9:45 a.m. news conference on national signing day Wednesday.
Mike Nance, Nash's father, joins his son in the relief that the hardest part of the recruiting process is behind the family.
"I'm extremely happy with Nash's decision," Mike Nance said. "I would have been fine with Vanderbilt becaus it is a great school with great coaches, but this is a wonderful opportunity for Nash. Derek Dooley is a fine man and he came in here and didn't sugarcoat anything. He had totally broken down Nash's junior and senior films and was well aware of what he can do."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...