This is part two of a series of articles from a recent interview with Vol commit Kamar Wilcoxson. You can read part one here.
In the middle of Tennessee’s hot streak on the recruiting trail earlier this month, some of UT’s rivals and upcoming opponents decided to take not-so-subtle shots at the Vols on Twitter.
Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Oklahoma all “out of the blue” posted videos on Twitter in the midst of the Vols’ run on 2021 commits that showed their teams beating Tennessee the last time they played them. The videos were all tweeted out within hours of the Vols landing another commitment, and in Florida’s case, an assistant coach even took a jab at four-star defensive back Kamar Wilcoxson when he announced his pledge to Tennessee.
Wilcoxson didn’t take kindly to that, nor has he been pleased with seeing other teams throw shade Tennessee’s way.
I recently caught up with Tennessee’s four-star defensive back commit, and one of the things we talked about was all the teams taking shots at the Vols online. Wilcoxson wasn’t a fan of how the other teams have been conducting themselves on social media.
The highly-rated defensive back out of IMG Academy committed to Tennessee on April 27th, but the Vols weren’t the first team he had committed to in the recruiting process. Wilcoxson originally committed to Florida on November 3, 2018 during his sophomore season of high school. Nearly six months later on April 27, 2019, Wilcoxson reopened his recruitment and decommitted from the Gators. Fast forward another three months on July 27th, and the four-star DB again pledged himself to Florida before again announcing his decommitment eight months later on March 26, 2020.
A month after that, Wilcoxson chose the Vols, and he has no intention of backing off that commitment.
When Wilcoxson took to social media to announce his commitment to Tennessee, Florida’s Assistant Director of Player Personnel, John Herron, decided to subtweet the newest Vol commit. The Florida assistant tweeted out an image of Regis Philbin from “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” asking, “Is that your final answer?” along with a shrugging emoji shortly after Wilcoxson’s commitment.
Originally, Wilcoxson tweeted out a response to that tweet, quoting it and saying “Lol, you mad jit? You grown throwing shots, I can’t wait til I see y’all boys!” But the four-star defensive back ended up deleting his reply.
That doesn’t mean Wilcoxson takes back how he felt, though.
Wilcoxson expressed his frustration to me about Florida taking a shot at him, especially now that they’re still recruiting him even after doing that.
“They did that when I committed, so why are y’all calling my phone now trying to recruit me still?” Wilcoxson said. “If y’all had so much bad stuff to say about me, y’all shouldn’t still be recruiting me, but they still are.”
There’s certainly a history with Florida for Wilcoxson, but they weren’t the only team that decided to comment on Tennessee’s recruiting success. Fellow SEC East rival Georgia also did, as well as Oklahoma, one of the Vols’ opponents in 2020.
Both Georgia and Oklahoma tweeted out videos of the last time they played Tennessee, which resulted in wins for both programs, not long after UT picked up commitments on separate days. Georgia beat the Vols 43-14 in Knoxville last season while Oklahoma came back to defeat Tennessee 31-24 in double-overtime in 2015 after Butch Jones’ Vol squad collapsed in the second half.
Just like with Florida, Wilcoxson had plenty to say about the other programs that came after the Vols.
According to Wilcoxson, his message to any highly-rated defensive prospect considering going to Oklahoma is “don’t go.” The four-star defensive back claimed that while the Sooners’ offense is always elite, their defense fails to impress year-in and year-out.
As for Georgia, Wilcoxson said the Bulldogs “always get top-notch talent” into the program, but they “always choke.” Per 247Sports, Georgia has claimed the No. 1 recruiting class in two of the last three cycles, and the Bulldogs have finished with a top-six class every year since the 2015 cycle. In that span, Georgia has had success for sure, winning the SEC East for three-straight seasons and appearing in the National Championship Game in 2017. But the Bulldogs have won the SEC outright just once in that stretch of time, losing to Alabama and LSU in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Tennessee, of course, hasn’t had anywhere close to that amount of success in the same span. But Tennessee also hasn’t recruited at the same level Georgia has over the last five years. Wilcoxson isn’t concerned with the past, though. He joined the Vols to help build a strong future, and a big reason why he chose the Vols over those other teams and other elite programs is because of UT’s coaching staff.
Wilcoxson spoke about his trust in Jeremy Pruitt and how genuine Tennessee’s head coach is, but he has just as strong of a relationship with defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley, too.
“Me and Coach Ansley are about as tight as me and Coach Pruitt,” Wilcoxson explained. “I can relate to Coach Ansley a lot. He’s told me some real eye-opening stuff throughout the process. He was honest about everything and didn’t just tell me what I wanted to hear. Just like with Coach Pruitt, he has an elite track record as well and knows what he’s doing.
“We hopped on Zoom, and I saw how he coached, and I could see myself playing for him and that system.”
Wilcoxson will be joining Tennessee after he finishes up the fall semester of his senior year of high school, becoming part of the Vols’ roster as they practice for a bowl game. The four-star defensive back is already ready to get to work with UT, and he’ll have some extra motivation thanks to the trash talking of some of Tennessee’s rivals.