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‘Don’t Waste Our Time’: Tony Vitello’s Fiery Message To Transfers Seeking Money Only

Tony Vitello
Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello. Photo By Ian Cox/Tennessee Athletics.

Before Tony Vitello’s nearly seven minute, 1,369 word opening statement truly got rolling following Tennessee baseball’s 12-1 College World Series clinching win over Evansville, Vitello had a simple but stern message for any transfers considering the Vols.

“While I’m at it, anybody that’s thinking about visiting our place that we’re recruiting and you think this is a place you can come and have your hand out and see how much money we can give you, don’t waste our time and don’t waste your time either,” Vitello stated.

It was a fiery sidebar sentence in the midst of a fiery opening statement. Tennessee baseball hosted three transfer portal recruits during its super regional series— Miami infielder Blake Cyr, Louisville infielder Gavin Kllen, and Wichita State pitcher Tommy LaPour. Cyr committed to Florida on Monday while Killen and LaPour remain uncommitted.

Tennessee baseball has been highly successful in the transfer portal under Tony Vitello. The Vols landed seven transfer portal commits last offseason and six made it to campus after Wofford’s Ryan Galanie ended up going to professional baseball.

AJ Causey (Jacksonville State) and Nate Snead (Wichita State) have perhaps been Tennessee’s two best pitchers this season. Chris Stamos (Cal) has also had a major role on the Vols’ pitching staff.

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Billy Amick (Clemson) enters the College World Series with 22 home runs and is projected to go in the first round of this summer’s MLB Draft. Catcher Cannon Peebles (North Carolina State) has been the one disappointment compared to high expectations but has still made an impact while Dalton Bargo (Missouri) has been in-and-out of the lineup and hit two home runs in game three of Knoxville Super Regional.

The Vols’ transfer portal class this past offseason is far from the only time they’ve had success in the portal. Vitello and his staff have landed elite pitchers like Chase Dollander and Seth Halvorsen as well as contributors at the plate like Griffin Merritt and Maui Ahuna.

Ahuna’s recruitment led to an NCAA investigation and an early season suspension for Tony Vitello during the 2023 season. Darren Rovell reported that Ahuna received a large NIL contract to come to Tennessee which led to people thinking the investigation was involving Tennessee paying Ahuna.

Vitello has constantly rejected that claim and his tangent is his latest push back against it. In actuality, the NCAA investigation was into whether Tennessee tampered with Ahuna before he was officially in the transfer portal.

With its constant success recruiting and developing players in the transfer portal, Tennessee baseball has plenty of positive recruiting points besides NIL.

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