football Edit

Felix builds relationships while on official visit

Darrian Felix admits to having a close relationship with Tennessee coaches Robert Gillespie, Larry Scott and Butch Jones.

In fact, the 5-foot-11, 187-pound running back from Fort Myers, Fla., said it’s what makes Tennessee different than the other schools pursuing him at this point.

“What makes them different is the relationship I have with them,” Felix said. “They call me basically every day and they tell me to keep doing what I’m doing and don’t let anything stop me and keep moving forward.”

Those relationships led him back to Tennessee over the weekend to get a more holistic take on what the Vols have to offer.

“Just to really get an actual feel for the school and hang out with the players a little bit; just get a better explanation on why Tennessee is Tennessee,” Felix said on why he wanted to see Tennessee on his official visit.”

So, what made Rocky Top, Rocky Top?

“Everything. The people, the players, they all made me feel like I was at home,” Felix explained. “I had a good time (Saturday night). I just like Tennessee.”

Felix was at Tennessee’s Orange Carpet Day in June and said his official visit was more about family than when he visited in the summer.

“It was different because I saw the game and it was more about me and my family,” Felix said. “They made me feel like it was about me and my family and that I was a priority. I really liked that a lot.”

Felix has a unique skill set in that he’s fast, elusive and has good hands, but he's also compact and tough to bring down. He reminds Tennessee’s staff of a current Vol.

“They compared me to (Alvin) Kamara, just how he’s so versatile out of the backfield. He can catch, he can punt return and kick return,” Felix said. “I think it’s a good comparison.”

Felix understands Kamara is likely to head to the NFL after this season and even though the Vols have several runners returning and two committed, he says he knows wherever he goes there will be competition and isn’t looking at the running backs already at Tennessee or those committed as a detraction.

“They said Kamara is probably leaving and then they have (John Kelly), Carlin Fils-aime and another sophomore running back and then two committed running backs and they are taking three,” Felix said. “I just look at it as a situation where I’m competing. It’s the SEC so every week you have to play your heart out.”

Tennessee is battling Oregon and North Carolina at this point and Felix said relationships and playing time are two important factors.

Concerning the Ducks and Tar Heels, he said he likes both programs. He’s already seen Oregon and plans to see North Carolina soon as well.

“I really like them all a lot. I haven’t been to Chapel Hill a lot but I’m going there. But, Oregon and Tennessee are good places to be,” Felix said. “Oregon, I just like everything about it because it’s Oregon. They have early playing time and the coaching staff loves me and I love them.”