Shamurad Umarov has spent the past few weeks taking official visits to all four of his finalists in hopes of deciding on a college within the next few weeks. He made his final stop this weekend, returning to Tennessee for the third time in less than five months.
The four-star Class of 2023 offensive lineman from Denmark High School in Alpharetta, Ga., said the visit left the Vols “pretty high” on his short list of contenders. He also has taken official visits to Georgia, Michigan State and LSU, and he said his weekend stay at Tennessee made a strong impression on him.
“I’d say they’re pretty high,” said Umarov, who’s ranked by 247Sports as the No. 203 overall prospect and No. 19 offensive tackle in the 2023 class. “They’re one of the top competitors right now.”
The 6-foot-6, 337-pound Umarov said his latest trip to Tennessee didn’t show him “anything different from before,” but he enjoyed spending more time with Vols coach Josh Heupel’s staff and having fun with the other dozen official visitors Tennessee hosted this weekend.
“Overall, man, it was really good — one of the best experiences I had at an OV. I’ll say that,” Umarov said. “They went all out for all the recruits that came here with me. Went first time tubing, ate lunch on a boat. I think it was pretty fun overall.”
Umarov said the Vols are one of the teams standing out most to him because of “their whole coaching staff, man — just how tight-knit of a group they are and just the way they do things around here, and how they’re already bringing the culture back from the little time that they’ve been here.”
He said he likes Tennessee offensive line coach Glen Elarbee because of “just the way he coaches, the coaching style.”
“I’ve, like, subconsciously been looking for coaches that are like my O-line coach, and I found that in him, and so (many) of the other coaches, too,” Umarov said. “But, with him, I don’t know. It’s just, we bonded so good the first time we met, and it’s just been like that ever since.”
Tennessee gave Umarov his second SEC scholarship in late October, and the Vols have stayed in frequent contact with him over the past several months. His weekend stay in Knoxville gave Elarbee, offensive coordinator Alex Golesh, Heupel and others on Tennessee’s staff an opportunity to reiterate to Umarov why he’s important to the Vols and what he could add to their offensive line.
“I’m just a big body, and then they don’t have much of my body type in their current O-line,” said Umarov, who has received offers from more than 30 schools.
“So it would be good for me to come in there and make a difference, because they said I’m the type of player they’re looking for to come make a difference in their team and to start that big-body OL, that school that’s known for their big OL.”
Umarov said he enjoyed hearing more about how Tennessee’s coaches, along with the Vols’ strength and conditioning staff, could help to prepare him for the NFL.
“We went over the NFL side of it — how, like, they help kids from here get to the NFL without so much struggle, and they have a team that just covers everything for them, and how their plays and how they practice relate to the NFL,” he said. “They’re just trying to get the best out of them, so why not practice like the best? So it was pretty cool information to hear from Coach Golesh and Elarbee. …
“Last time I came here, I hurt my shoulder. I was coming back from shoulder surgery, so I had to take things slow, and when we were going over the weight room, there were some things I couldn’t do. And I tried it this time, and I like it because the equipment they have in there.
“And one (member) of the coaching staff that’s, like, really tight with OL specifically, and he’s always helping out with the OL and seeing the types of machines that get us better. I love it.”
With four official visits behind him, Umarov said he’s currently “thinking mid-July for my commitment.”
“I think I’m getting close,” he said. “I’ve still got a lot of thinking to do, though.”
As he continues to weigh his options, he said he’s looking for a school where he can be “comfortable when football’s not around” and stay “around the right type of guys to help me succeed and not just trying to have a good time just because they’ve got free college.”
“I want to surround myself with people that are trying to get to where I want to get to,” Umarov said, “and just overall be successful at where I’m at, (and) comfortable.”
"As he continues to weigh his options, he said he’s looking for a school where he can be “comfortable when football’s not around” and stay “around the right type of guys to help me succeed and not just trying to have a good time just because they’ve got free college.”
This is where I believe the hard work of our staff is going to pay off--- bringing in high character kids is paying dividends already...high character kids want to be around others with the same mindset most of the time...