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June 28, 2009

Young Berry to follow brother, father to Tennessee

Jamie Newberg
Rivals.com College Football
Special to

In college football recruiting today, it's never too early. The entire process has been accelerated. It's so fast that one young star in Fairburn, Georgia, has decided where to play his college football even though he hasn't played a down of high school football yet.

His name is Evan Berry and he's the younger brother of Tennessee safety Eric Berry. Evan Berry said Monday that he has decided to follow in his brother and father's footsteps and play for the Volunteers.

"Yes, I committed to Tennessee," Evan said. "It's the only college I know right now and it seems the best for me. My dad went there and my brother is there now. I know I can do the same things there. I have a real friendly relationship with the coaches there. I know I don't know them too well but I know I will have plenty of time to get to know them.

"I want to play in the secondary and I want to play for coach (Monte) Kiffin."

Berry, only 13 years old, will be a ninth grader this fall at Creekside, the same high school Eric attended. He has played his recreational ball for the Fairburn Flames. He was a star quarterback, running back and free safety. He was coached by his father, James.

"Evan plays on a different level than everyone else," James said. "He's a technician with the ball in his hands. He just fits at quarterback and at safety. He's quick and fast and has a natural instinct for handling the ball."

Evan has a fraternal twin, Elliot. Evan currently stands 5-8 and 145 pounds while Elliot is 5-11.

"I am not sure why Elliot is bigger but he just recently decided to go on a huge growth spurt," James said. "He's so fast and has such natural instincts to find the open spot. He's very instinctive on defense and a good tackler. Elliot is more like Eric. Like I said, Evan is in another league of his own."

Speaking of Eric, how would the elder Berry compare the twins to their older brother at the same stage?

"I coached all three to this stage and I can say that Evan and Elliot are further along than Eric was at 13. They are such gifted athletes. I don't want to sound like the dad who's always bragging but they are. They are blessed. I am blessed. And I am so proud of all my boys. But the thing I am most proud of is that they are such good students."

This season both Evan and Elliot will have to earn their way to the varsity at Creekside and win a spot. That's how they want it. And they will work hard to accomplish that first goal.

"I am hoping to play quarterback and in the secondary this season," Evan said. "Elliot wants to play running back and linebacker."

Still, it's scary to think that this duo will only be high school freshmen this fall. If you do the math that means they will be members of the class of 2013. That's a long time from now.

"Hey, we just have to take it one day at a time," James said. "Things happen and four years is a long ways away."

While Evan has made his early decision, Elliot has not. In fact, at this time he favors another SEC program.

"Right now Elliot favors LSU. He really likes their track program," Evan said.

Jamie Newberg is the Special to for Rivals.com College Football.
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