September 8, 2009

It's Bray Day for the Vols

After months of speculation and debate, Tennessee finally has its quarterback for the 2010 recruiting class. Four-star signal-caller and Kingburg, Calif., native Tyler Bray made things official on Tuesday morning when he de-committed from San Diego State and gave his verbal pledge to Lane Kiffin and the Vols.

"SEC is the big powerhouse for football," Bray said. "Tennessee football is religion. You can't really beat that. It was all fun. It was crazy. I don't think I could pick one highlight (from his weekend visit to the Vols' opener). If I had to pick one it would be running through the 'T.' Seeing coach (Ed) Orgeron getting the team pumped up gave me chills. It was awesome."

The Vols staff did an excellent job of displaying their product over the weekend, but Kiffin and crew can thank the orange-clad faithful for an assist. The Tennessee fans really helped push the Vols over the top with their dedication to the program.

"The fans," Bray said. "The people eat, breath, and sleep football at Tennessee. That's the way I am and that's what I want to be around. I don't know how many times that I walked around and people were yelling at me that they needed me. It was nuts."

And when Bray finally told the Volunteer staff that he would be spending the next four or five years with them, they were naturally pretty pleased.

"(Kiffin) was excited," Bray said. "They were all excited. Coach (Ed) Orgeron, coach (David) Reaves, they were all pumped, and so am I."

Now Bray turns his attention to the classroom where he hopes to finish Kingsburg High School in December and enroll at Tennessee in January. He knows that is key to him seeing playing time in the fall of 2010.

"It's big," Bray said of becoming a mid-term enrollee. "The biggest thing is getting big enough to play right away and learning the offense. The SEC is all about big hits and I'm at 200 (pounds), but I want to get to 220 by next fall. I'm trying to get that big this fall, but definitely by next fall."

While Bray travelled back to California on Sunday, his father stayed behind to look at the possibility of moving the entire Bray family to Knoxville once Tyler graduates high school.

"They want to be able to watch me play," Bray said. "My family loves football. They aren't going to send me out here just to watch football. They want to watch."

The entire Bray family was blown away by the weekend in Knoxville and that's a big reason Tyler made a quick decision once he arrived back in the Golden State.

"My parents were in shock," Bray said. "Football in California is a lot different. Football isn't a religion out here. It's huge down there. They could not believe how things were there. They loved it."

Bray has been back in school for almost a month. He hasn't played his first football game yet, but his season begins this Friday. Getting the decision over with before the season begins is huge for not only Bray, but his coach and team.

"I can set down and concentrate on my senior year," Bray said. "I don't want to have to think about recruiting again. I want to have a big year and get focused on football."

Bray was recruited by Tennessee commitment Markeith Ambles over the past few weeks and now Bray says he'll join Ambles on the recruiting trail.

"Whatever I can do to help," Bray said. "That's what I'm going to do." rates Bray as a 4-star quarterback in the class of 2010 and the No. 6 pro-style quarterback.

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