January 16, 2011

UT meets Orta's high expectations

It's perfectly fine that Geraldo Orta had considerably high expectations this weekend for his official visit to the University of Tennessee.

The Valdosta, Ga., product from powerful Lowndes High School departed Knoxville Sunday afternoon plenty impressed.

"Basically, when I went to Tennessee I expected a lot, and I got a lot out of it," said the muscular, 6-foot, 180-pounder. "Tennessee is a very good school, is rich in tradition and basically has the resources to get any player, basically, that they want really. I mean, it's a great atmosphere there. I've got a very good relationship with the players. I talk to the players a lot, in case I go there. It's a very good school."

Like several recruits, Orta was particularly wowed by the reception coach Derek Dooley's recruits received during Tennessee's nationally televised basketball showdown against Vanderbilt on Saturday. It left an impression that Orta took with him as he departed Rocky Top.

"I mean, it's kind of new. Really, like, it makes you happy because people know you that you didn't expect for people to know," Orta explained. "But they actually knew who I was.

"Tennessee has a very good fan base, and you saw it at the basketball game how it was. That's a good thing."

Hosted by Vols defensive backs Janzen Jackson and fellow Valdosta native Dontavis Sapp, Orta will visit Clemson next weekend and expects to make a decision shortly thereafter. He won't wait till signing day on Feb. 2, he said, and Orta also praised the straightforward advice and personal interaction he received from Tennessee's coaches.

"I mean, until I take my Clemson official, I won't decide yet. But after that, I'll evaluate everything. Write down my likes and dislikes. After that, I'll go with it," he said. "Yes, sir [a lot of time with UT's coaches]. I mean, basically (they said) take my time. Really make the right decision for me, because it's going to be my choice in the end. So that's basically what they threw at me."

Such candor, rather than a standard recruiting pitch, didn't go unnoticed by Orta.

"Usually, you think of a college team, and it's a business. But with Tennessee, it's like a family environment," he said. "They really bring you in and make you feel like that's your home."

Orta possesses double-digit offers, is rated a three-star safety and a top-75 player in the state of Georgia, according to Rivals.com.

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