HOOVER, Ala. - Butch Jones managed to make one more recruiting splash before making his Southeastern Conference media days debut here today.
The first-year Tennessee football coach landed a verbal commitment from safety Cortez McDowell, a consensus four-star prospect from Locust Grove High School south of Atlanta who announced his pledge via Twitter Tuesday morning.
"There were a lot of reasons why I picked Tennessee," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "but the main one was it's a good fit for myself -- somewhere where I'm going to spend the next four or five years of my life. I felt like Tennessee is a great spot for myself, and that's why I went with my gut feeling."
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound McDowell is the nation's 12th-ranked safety and No. 131 overall player and the ninth-ranked player in Georgia, according to 247sports.com, and he's a top-250 recruit according to both Rivals.com and ESPN.
Auburn and Georgia were among McDowell's finalists, and he was in Athens last weekend for the Bulldogs' annual "Dawg Night" event for recruits. Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Miami were among the other programs to extend a scholarship offer. McDowell last visited Tennessee last month.
He is the Vols' 20th verbal commitment for the 2014 class and joins Knoxville safety Todd Kelly and Washington D.C. cornerback D'Andre Payne as Tennessee's secondary pledges.
Contact Patrick Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.