"They are a school I'm interested in seeing again," Ritzie said. "I had a good time at the Georgia game last year. They have a good school. I've always been interested in Tennessee. I like the program and I like coach Pruitt. He's a good guy and he has a good vibe."
Pruitt has been influential with several key prospects during his first two full classes at Tennessee. He resonates with prospects because of his football mind and straight forward approach.
"It's a really chill personality," Ritzie said. "It's nothing over the top. It's not over exaggerated. When I've talked to him on the phone before, he's a pretty cool guy and a great person to talk to."
Ritzie's area recruiter is running backs coach Jay Graham. The two have spoke since Graham got to Rocky Top and it's Graham that is pushing to get him and other North Carolina prospects to campus soon.
"It was a good conversation," Ritzie said. "I'm going to be calling him again later today. I just think his facts are real truthful."
And then there is Tennessee's new defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, who in just a couple of weeks on the job has made his presence felt with his ability to relate.
"I really liked his vibe," Ritzie said. "He was at Colorado and now he is at Tennessee. We are trying to build a good relationship now. I just like what he had to say."
Tennessee was one of 12 schools that made the latest cut when Ritzie released his top-12 earlier this year. They are obviously in it, but is there anything that Tennessee could be doing better in his recruitment?
"That's a good question because I think they are doing a very good job of recruiting me," Ritzie said. "I wouldn't say it's one or two coaches. It's literally the whole staff and they are after me. I talk to them every day."
And the way Tennessee is recruiting him gives him more interest in seeing what the Vols have to offer with a re-worked staff.
"It feels really good to know they make me a priority," Ritzie said. "I look forward to getting back up there and learn everything from academics which is my #1 to the sports part. I want to talk to some of the players and see why they chose Tennessee over other schools."
And with academics being very important to him and his family, he wants to take a long hard look at what each school has to offer in a number of different fields.
"I have a wide variety of things I'm interested in," Ritzie said. "I have bio-medical engineering, architectural engineering, psychology, anatomy. I don't know yet. Just some different things interest me. I'm taking classes for all those things."
Duke, Georgia, UNC, South Carolina, Ohio State and Oklahoma along with the Vols are recruiting Ritzie very hard. He would love to come to a decision sometime this summer or early fall, but nothing is set in stone.
"Family is the #1 priority for my decision," Ritzie said. "We have to feel like it's a place like home that I want to go to."
Swapped texts with Ritzie. He said the “visit was great! And learned a lot, great information needed” He wants to talk tomorrow because he just got home and was taking care of his dog. Plan on talking to him in morning.
“It changed a lot. It opened my eyes some more,” said Ritzie, who’s ranked the No. 210 overall prospect and No. 14 strongside defensive end in the 2021 class, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite.
“It was a very informative visit. I really enjoyed it. My family enjoyed it, as well. It was good that we got down there so we could see what they have to offer now. “It’s, like, a new coaching staff and stuff like that, so faces have changed. We were like, ‘We can go down — free weekend.’ At first we had a track meet, and a couple days before the meet, it got canceled, so that opened it up for us to go to Tennessee. So that worked out fine, and we actually enjoyed the visit.”
“This time, we came and just got everything, really — just more information, just learning about everyone,” said Ritzie, who received a scholarship offer from Tennessee in late July and visited the Vols for the first time Oct. 5 for their home game against Georgia. “Nothing was bad about the visit. All of it was just really good.”
Ritzie said he particularly enjoyed spending time with new Tennessee defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, who already had been in frequent contact with him over the past month. “You could say the D-line coach (stood out), because he got there, like, literally two or three weeks ago, and it seems like he’s been there forever,” Ritzie said. “He showed everything, told me everything, just showed me how they would utilize me and everything. And I was like, ‘Wow, that’s awesome.’ That was pretty good.
“I talked to him a lot before the visit. That’s really one of the reasons why we decided to go down there this weekend. … He just knows what he’s talking about. He really just knows what he’s talking about. He’s very truthful, very open about it. “He’s really just an overall great guy.”
“They said I could be a D-end,” Ritzie said. “At the same time, they said I could play the whole D-line, and I could also be, like, an outside linebacker, as well, with my versatility. I’m very athletic, so I can do it all. … They said, if I commit there, that they would just let me go off, just go crazy, do what I have to do to make the team better.”
Ritzie, who plans to be an early enrollee at the school of his choice, said he intends to decided on a college “hopefully before my senior season.”“I just know I won’t be waiting ‘til National Signing Day to commit,” he said.
Ranking isn’t everything. Page fits all the nfl measurables but his ceiling isn’t as high as Ritzie’s. That’s where the value is. He also fits our defense very well as far as versatility & Swiss Army knife usability. I’m in the camp of let’s get them both !