His dad is the head football coach. Took over for Jeff Saturday, Peyton’s center at Indi. Jeff stepped away to see his son play receiver at UNC. He really started to make something of this small private school....
“From the moment I got there until the moment I left, it kind of just felt special,” said Luttrell, who’s ranked by 247Sports as the No. 39 safety in the 2023 class and the No. 39 rising junior from the state of Georgia. “It felt like the coaches really cared for me, and they also cared for my family that was there.
“I’m ready to get back up there and meet all the coaches again. I’m bringing my mom up this time.”
Before making the trip to Tennessee again last month, he said he remembered at least a little bit about his first look at UT’s campus, although it was nearly 15 years ago.
“My dad’s from Tennessee, and his family’s from Tennessee,” Luttrell said. “My dad’s dad was actually in the hospital, and we were walking around looking for stuff to do, so we went to the University of Tennessee. We walked around, and then we got to look into the stadium from the outside.
“I remember it a little bit, just because I remember the checkerboard. I remember seeing it from outside the stadium looking in.”
“He was familiar with (Tennessee),” Luttrell said of his father. “He played high school football in Tennessee, and then he coached in Tennessee a little bit. It was always his dream to go to Tennessee, so he was hyped that I got the chance to be in the stadium, talk to the coaches and all that.”
He said his father “grew up right outside Knoxville” and played football at Carson-Newman, where his mother also played soccer. He said his grandmother also is from the Knoxville area and “still lives there.”
Luttrell said his ties to the area are just one of the reasons he’s high on Tennessee.
“I think one of the biggest things, comparing the offers that I have, is just outside of football, (what) does the school have to offer me? And Tennessee is definitely one of the ones that offers a lot outside of football, just being only three-and-a-half hours from home,” he said.
“Family’s still in Tennessee. People know the last name Luttrell when I go up there. It’s cool to have those connections already up in Tennessee.”
He also enjoyed working with first-year Tennessee coach Josh Heupel’s staff on the field. Luttrell said he received positive feedback from the Vols after the camp, and he has stayed in contact with defensive backs coach Willie Martinez and defensive analyst Chad Creamer since last month.
“They see me as a safety — like, a bigger safety who can come down and fit in those run gaps, and then also play in coverage,” Luttrell said. “They said they loved the way I competed and held my composure. They said I own my leverage very well on defense, and then, coming out of the camp, I was definitely one of their top 2023 prospects.
“I’m calling two to three times a week talking to Coach Martinez, which is the (defensive backs) coach, and then Coach Creamer just about getting back up there and planning everything out.”