It's been a turbulent start to the new year for the University of Tennessee. The loss of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon has left the Vols with three coaching vacancies and has seriously jeopardized UT's Top 15 recruiting class (currently ranked 14th per Rivals.com.)
On JUCO National Signing Day, Tennessee lost two commitments from potential impact players, and that was before the devastating news of Wilcox and Sirmon's departure. Now, with the two former Oregon teammates having packed their bags, there is a certain level of apprehension from recruits like four-star LB Otha Peters, three-star LB Dalton Santos, and four-star DB Kenneth Crawley.
However, for three-star ATH (likely OLB upon arrival in Knoxville) Justin King, there is no apprehension and absolutely no doubt for the Dunwoody, Ga. star. Despite being caught off guard by the news of the staff shakeup, King told KVV on Wednesday night that he was all Vol.
"At the end of the day, people have to do what's best for them," the 6'3" 215 lb'er said. "You know that was a decision that Coach Wilcox and Coach Sirmon had to make to help their families, and I wish them the best."
King has heard from the coaching staff and has been told that the status of his offer had not changed, unlike fellow Georgia stars and former UT commitments Keithon Redding and Khalid Henderson, and King is expecting Coach Dooley in his home to discuss the direction of Tennessee's defense sometime later tonight.
"You don't pick the school for the coaches, you kinda pick the school for the academics. You just say, if football was never around, would you still go to the university?" King said.
While the coaches haven't made any indication to Justin on what sort of direction they hope to take Tennessee's defense, those are the sort of questions that King hopes to get to the bottom of later tonight when Coach Dooley arrives.
Even though King has been adamant about his commitment to Tennessee since taking the plunge back in July, the Vols recent difficulties have lead schools back to King in hopes of getting their foot in the door for the talented young prep-star.
"I've heard from a couple of schools, and they're telling me to look around, but when I was picking Tennessee, my dad told me to be a man of your word. So that's what I'm gonna do, I'm not changing my mind. I'm here for the long run," King said.
King has no plans to take any visits to other schools with less than a month remaining until National Signing Day, and remains firmly committed to Tennessee.