'19 NC LB Derek Boykins

Mar 1, 2012
Boykins told 247Sports’ Don Callahan this week that Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina are the four schools “sticking out” to him, and his visit with the Vols easily lived up to his expectations. “I mean, it was all of what I thought it was going to be,” said Boykins, who’s ranked by 247Sports as the No. 336 overall prospect and No. 24 outside linebacker in the 2019 class. “Everything was nice — big-time SEC football. They had nice facilities. The stadium, it was overwhelming, being down there — 102,455 people. It was crazy.

“Talking to Coach Pruitt, everything was nice,” Boykins added, referring to new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt. The 6-foot-0.5, 221-pound Boykins admitted he “didn’t know” at first that Pruitt had been hired in December as the Vols’ coach, but he “was excited about that.” He said Pruitt is one of the reasons he’s now strongly considering Tennessee, and he believes Pruitt will succeed in turning around the Vols’ program. “I buy that all the way,” Boykins said. “I mean, Coach Pruitt said he knows exactly what to do. He won championships and all that. He’s been at a lot of great places. He’s one of the best defensive minds in college football, so it would be nice to play for him since I play linebacker.

“They’re changing the schemes and everything, so they’re running a whole new defense now that Coach Pruitt’s there. … I mean, I would like to play in a system like that. That’s a wonderful defense he’s fixing to install.” Boykins said the best part of his trip to Tennessee “was probably talking to Coach Pruitt.” “He was just like, ‘This year is going to be the worst record we’ll have while I’m here,’” Boykins said, recalling his conversation with Pruitt. “He said he’s going to get this thing turning in a hurry, and he said he wants me to be a part of it. “He said, ‘You’re one of them linebackers I’m used to seeing.’ He coached at Alabama and Georgia and stuff like that, so he was like, ‘Yeah, this is what I’m used to seeing right here.’”

“In college I’m trying to play Will — play inside, play Will ‘backer — be in space a little bit, still fill the B-gap,” he said. “And (Pruitt) said I can be that guy for the defense and all that.” He said he’s most interested in the Vols because of Pruitt’s staff, along with “the defense” and the chance to play “big-time SEC football.” And he made it clear he “will” visit Tennessee again, “probably” by this summer. "If I make my decision during the season, I’ll probably try to get to a game or something like that,” Boykins said.

He also said he's been talking mostly with Montario Hardesty, he and his mom really like MH.
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