BREAKING: 4-star Malachi Wideman picks Vols, talks Orange & White decision
Venice, Florida wide receiver Malachi Wideman has been waiting for this day for a long time.
On Wednesday, the nation's No. 56 overall prospect chose Tennessee over Florida State, Ole Miss and Oregon as his recruitment came to a close.
"It was the relationships that I've built with the coaches over time," Wideman told Volquest. "They made me a priority down the stretch and it made an impression on me."
So what was it that sold Wideman on Tennessee over the other finalists?
"Opportunities, big opportunities," Wideman said. "I sat down and thought about where I can get on the field and make an impact and Tennessee was that school. They lose some really good receivers and they need help. Basketball also played a part as well because I'm a hooper as well."
Wideman was very clear that he wants to play both football and basketball in college. In fact, the night that Jeremy Pruitt came down for his in-home, Wideman scored 42 points in a 82-80 win for Venice. He doesn't lack confidence, which should translate well to the next level.
"I feel like I can come in and make an impact in both sports no matter where I went," Wideman said. "I can defend and I can score. I also pass the ball and facilitate. I'm a combo guard."
Tennessee fans can credit Chris Weinke for getting the Vols in the door with Wideman. That relationship proved to be big, as did the emergence of Tee Martin during the month of January as the Vols heated up their pursuit of the Sunshine state product.
"The position coach was big," Wideman said. "And just the relationships in general. You want to know who you are going to spend the next three or four years with in your life and that's why it was big in how they recruited me. Coach Weinke and coach Martin both came down and showed how much they wanted me."
Rivals.com ranks Wideman as a 4-star wide receiver in the class of 2020. He's also the 56th ranked player nationally in the Rivals100.