I have full faith in our recruiting staff, even if I do or don't have faith elsewhere. The guys we have have the experience and talent that is indicative of future success. In the past, when we offered unranked or 2-3 star players, I found it questionable. Now, it seems more likely to be a diamond in the rough. And getting in early on these guys like this allows us to build a very positive long-term relationship with the individual recruits, rather than trying to snag guys later on in the process after they've already built these relationships with other universities.
SOMERSET, N.J. – Class of 2021 quarterback Christian Veilleux is close to finishing up his first year at Canisius High in Buffalo, N.Y., after transferring down from his home in Ottawa, Canada. College coaches certainly know where Veilleux is, and many has been through his school already in the Spring Evaluation Period, with more expected this month.
Veilleux is up to 12 scholarship offers, with Purdue and Pittsburgh among the most recent to join the chase. Both of those schools had coaches in to watch him throw recently, while coaches from Ole Miss, South Carolina and Kentucky are expected in soon. Pitt was one of the schools Veilleux visited in April, along with South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. A trip to Rutgers took place immediately after he took part in the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas in New Jersey this past Sunday. The trip to Tennessee was Veilleux’s first in-person experience on their Knoxville campus.
IN HIS WORDS
“(Tennessee) was super nice and really lived up to expectations. I spent most of the time with Coach (Chris) Weinke and we have a pretty good relationship. He definitely has a good reputation in my mind because he worked with Michael O’Connor (at IMG Academy), so that connection is pretty big. I know that he knows his stuff and he can develop quarterbacks."
Veilleux has established himself as one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 class, and his performance at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp this past weekend only furthered that reputation. Veilleux measured in at 6-foot-3 and 194 pounds and had arguably the strongest arm at a very deep camp that included four prospects already committed to Power Five programs. His recruitment started early and he has already visited most of the programs that have offered him a scholarship, as well as several that have not. Additional camps and college visits are expected, with Penn State and Pittsburgh two schools Veilleux would like to get back to this summer.
Veilleux was in Knoxville today and threw for Tennessee as well as camp with the Vols.
The 6-3 qb is originally from Canada. He has been playing HS ball in Buffalo but is transferring to a school in Maryland this fall in an effort to reclassify into the 2021 class instead of 2020 as he just turned 16 this month. Veilleux is going to be a mid-term enrollee and could decide as early as this Christmas. Tennessee offered back in January. Today was his first time seeing campus and he liked what he saw. Likes the business school which is what he wants to major in and liked the coaching staff.
As for his workout with Vol quarterback coach Chris Weinke and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, Veilleux felt he showed his skills well.
“I feel like I did well. I definitely threw how I wanted to throw. I was accurate. I think I showed off my arm talent and my feet were good. I felt good about it,” Veilleux said.
“They told me they were impressed with how I threw. Coach Chaney said my mechanics were good, not a lot of flaws. From them, it was all generally positive. I like them.”
Veilleux, who received his Vol offer back in January, visited the Vols back in May and likes Weinke and Chaney who he speaks with regularly.
Veilleux just turned 16 and is likely to see his recruitment take off as more people find him. After playing his first season in Buffalo at Canisius High School last season, Veilluex is transferring to the Bullis School in Maryland in August. Bullis is the alma mater of first round draft pick Dewayne Haskins.
Veilleux, who was born in Canada, believes he can get more exposure at the Bullis school before graduating in December of 2020 and enrolling somewhere in January of 2021. When it comes to what he’s looking for in a school, he has a pretty good idea.
“I want a school with a great business program,” Veilleux said. “A school that has a good reputation with their business program and their overall academics. I feel like that is a huge part of it. The coaching staff. How are they, what’s their reputation, how do I feel around them? Are they good people? Do they share the same values that I do?”
What kind of offense do they run? How are they surrounding the quarterback position? What coaching do they off for the quarterback position and then the campus. How do I feel on campus? What’s the vibe? How would I fit in with campus life? Can my parents to get to a game easily?”
As for what the offense looks like, Jim Chaney’s style certainly seems to fit the bill.
“I believe an offense that is pro style with some spread is what I’m looking for. I love being under center and in the gun,” he offered. “I’m not too big on RPO stuff, but I think my athleticism can support that kind off offense. Really what I prefer is a pro-style offense with some spread things. More NFL geared.”
With signing day for right handed signal caller nearly 18 months away, there’s obviously no rush for a decision, but Veilleux does have somewhat of a timetable in mind.
“I thinking around Christmas time this year. Maybe a little after Christmas. That’s when I will probably make a decision,” he offered. “Honestly whenever I feel comfortable with it and I now for sure where I want to go, I will get it done.”
Christian Veilleux made a brief visit to Tennessee more than two months ago, taking his first look at the Vols during an approximately 90-minute visit the day of their spring game. He liked what he saw enough to make the trip again. The Class of 2021 quarterback from Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y., returned to Tennessee on June 8 for a lengthier visit that allowed him to participate in one of the Vols’ camps, and he said he’s already hoping to visit them again later this year.
“When I got down for the spring game, I only stayed for, like, an hour and a half, I believe,” said Veilleux, a native of Ottawa, Ontario, who plans to transfer to Bullis School in Potomac, Md., for his junior season. “I didn’t watch the spring game. I had to leave, so (earlier this month) was the first time I’d fully visited everything. “I had it in mind to come back during the summer, and it just worked out perfectly with the whole camps and stuff.”
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Veilleux, who received a scholarship offer from Tennessee almost four months ago, said the Vols again made a good impression on him during his latest trip to Knoxville. He enjoyed taking a closer look at Tennessee’s campus and facilities working out with the Vols’ coaches, led by quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, during a camp that allowed him to get plenty of one-on-one attention from them.
“It was good. I was really impressed with the whole campus,” Veilleux said. “I thought it was really nice. I had a lot of fun throwing with Coach Weinke and doing camp and all that stuff. “It was a great experience. I really liked it. I pretty much hung out for the whole day. After the camp, I stayed for about, like, another four hours and got a tour, got a private workout with Coach Weinke and Coach Chaney.” Weinke and Chaney made it clear they liked what they saw from Veilleux on the field.
“They thought I was really good,” Veilleux said. "They said I was definitely a top quarterback in my class. They have a lot of interest in me. Coach Weinke said I have a good upside, and I’ll have a bright future. It was all positive feedback. It was really good, so I’ll definitely be back in the future. “I could tell by being down there that they really liked having me down there, and they really felt like I was a target that they should pursue in the future.”
Veilleux said he already had heard a little bit about Weinke’s coaching style from former Penn State quarterback Michael O’Connor, a fellow Canadian who played under Weinke at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. “That’s pretty much how I know Coach Weinke, and I’ve heard a lot of stuff about him, for sure,” Veilleux said. “But being there in person with him, I feel like he’s a great coach. He knows what he’s talking about. He knows what he wants to look at. He knows how to pick quarterbacks and stuff, so I feel like that was really a great thing.
“And Coach Chaney, he was really honest and upfront about how he coaches, how he looks at things. I felt like we had a great conversation with him. We also talked a bunch of football stuff, so that was really good.” The chance to play in the SEC is one of the main reasons Veilleux is interested in Tennessee. “It’s a really good conference,” he said. “It gets you ready for the NFL and all that stuff. But I feel like the coaching is the biggest part of being in the SEC, also, and that’s one thing I really liked about them was their coaching staff.”
Veilleux, who claims to have been timed at 4.72 seconds in the 40-yard dash, said he’s looking for a team that runs “a pro-style offense mixed in with some spread offense.” He believes the Vols fit that description. “I mean, just from Coach Chaney’s coaching, I know he was at Georgia last year, and the offense he ran with Jake Fromm was a really good offense,” Veilleux said. “And I’ve been looking at that a little bit, so that’s a really attractive part of the whole thing, too.
“I’m more of a pro-style quarterback — under the center, pocket passer — but I’m definitely athletic enough to make plays on my feet, extend plays, make stuff happen. I feel like my athleticism is really an underrated part of my game, and I don’t really have a chance to show it off enough. But I really like throwing the ball first and running second.”
Kentucky, Purdue and West Virginia also have hosted Veilleux for camps this month, and he said he’s scheduled to visit Penn State this weekend. He’s hoping to make his college decision not long after his junior season. “There’s definitely some (schools) that are high on my list right now,” he said. “I have a lot of time with the whole process and all that, so I’m just taking everything in, not putting anybody aside right now.
“I’m thinking (I will commit) probably after my junior season, around Christmastime or after Christmas. I’m starting to get a decent feel, for sure. I feel like I just need to see more and do some official visits before anything’s official.”
Tennessee continues to evaluate its 2021 quarterback options and Canadian Christian Veilleux remains high on the board. The now Bullis School (Maryland) quarterback impressed both Jim Chaney and Chris Weinke in a throwing session this summer. Kentucky and Penn State are two other schools with serious interest, but Veilleux is scheduled to get his second look at Tennessee on Oct. 12 for the South Carolina game.