Jadan Baugh has a checklist of three big things he wants to see from every school that recruits him, and so far Tennessee has checked all those boxes for the talented 2024 Atlanta-area athlete.
“First I do, like, research on the school, see if they’ve got a good education,” he said. “Second, a good coaches’ relationship — how they’re recruiting me, how they’re talking to my parents, if they’re talking to my parents a lot. I also look to see how the energy is. I don’t want to be anywhere where there’s no vibes. I want it to be high-energy around the campus and stuff like that.”
Baugh said his recent trip to Tennessee — for the Vols’ Night at Neyland camp a couple of weeks ago — was a really good one and checked some boxes.
“Great. Great,” he said. “The coaches had energy. The players that’s helping out have energy. They’re out there talking and helping. I learned a lot to add to my game.”
Tennessee offered Baugh on May 19, and the versatile athlete played running back at the Night at Neyland Camp. He also plays basketball and has taken snaps at quarterback, wide receiver cornerback and safety at Columbia High School in Decatur, Georgia.
Baugh is being recruited mostly by Tennessee running backs coach Jerry Mack, though, and the nation’s No. 63 overall prospect in 247Sports’ 2024 rankings said that relationship is one of the strongest he has with any coach.
“We have a great relationship, but I’m gonna get up here more to try and get it stronger,” he said. “It’s like we talk on a daily basis. Our relationship is strong. I’m just trying to get up here more and get it stronger with all the coaches instead of just Coach Jerry.”
Baugh did nothing to harm his reputation at the Night at Neyland camp. He was in a talented group with several backs who have several Power 5 offers, and he certainly looked like he belonged.
“It went good,” he said. "When you come into camps, most people come in nervous, but I came in with high energy. I mean, I was a little nervous, but I know what I can do, so I just came in and performed like I’m supposed to.
“He [Mack] was saying he liked everything I was doing. He liked my footwork, he liked how I responded to coaching, stuff like that.”
Tennessee certainly has competition for Baugh, though. The versatile athlete said he has “I want to say 20” offers, and he said he’s finally gotten settled in with the process.
“When they first started coming in, like coaches and stuff, it was kind of hard,” he said. “It was like they were going in and out, and it was kind of rough. But now I’ve caught up to it. I know what they want from me, so I just try my best to work hard and give ‘em what they want.
“It’s going good. It’s going about how I thought it would go.”
The Vols also came up when Baugh was asked to discuss the schools recruiting him the process, but he said he’s in no rush to make a list of finalists — despite some gentle prodding from his parents on that front.
“Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and I want to say Georgia Tech,” he said. “I have time. I’m just playing the field right now. That’s what I talk about with my parents. They tell me I have to, you know, narrow it down soon. But I don’t think I need to right now. Not yet.”
Baugh didn’t budge when asked if he had even a rough running list of schools near the top.
“I try to keep it to myself,” he said.
Baugh said distance isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for him, and that he loves SEC football but also watches “a lot of football” in general and also likes schools from the Big Ten and Pac-12.
As for Tennessee, though, Baugh didn’t deny that he really likes what he’s seen from the Vols to this point, and he said he “definitely” plans to make more trips to Knoxville, including for a game at some point this season.
Wherever Baugh goes, his connection with the coaches will be key.
“It’s very high,” he said. “I want the relationship with the coaches to be great, because I know that some people might go off to another school, and they don’t have a great relationship with the coaches. I feel like if you don’t have a great relationship with the coaches, that’s gonna hurt you. That connection’s gonna help you now and at the next level.”
Baugh said he doesn’t have any more camps on his schedule, but he said he’s planning to take lessons learned from those camps — especially the recent ones to Tennessee and Clemson — and put them to use on the field this fall.
“I think I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing — training, staying in the weight room, keep getting better and working on my craft — before I go and show everything I’ve got,” he said.