Is Tennessee cooking up something special in recruiting Nazir Stackhouse?
While Decatur, Georgia defensive tackle Nazir Stackhouse has been committed to Georgia for going on a year and a half, his relationship with current Tennessee defensive line coach Tracy Rocker pre-dates his commitment and likely is a big reason he fell in love with Athens. Rocker started recruiting Stackhouse when the former Outland Trophy winner was on the Bulldog staff and the latter was a freshman.
"He has been wanting me to come up and just spend time with the players," Stackhouse said. "Today's visit was really good. We played paint ball. We got to hang out with the coaches and players and stuff. It was exciting. I had thought the worst cause I know paint balls hurt, but it was fun.
"It makes you feel like a kid again out there playing on teams and shooting at each other. I was a big target for everyone to hit (laughs)."
Stackhouse remains committed to Georgia, but he is at least listening to Rocker, Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols.
"There is a lot to like about Tennessee," Stackhouse said. "The facilities, the players, the coaches and just the area stand out about Tennessee. Seeing how the players interact and how close they are was good."
Rocker picked up recruiting Stackhouse when he first got to Tennessee last year. He's been chipping away and just focusing on the little things about relationship building and that seems to have paid off.
"I've known him for a long time," Stackhouse said. "Tracy really just wants the best for me. He's always honest with me and I value what he says."
That relationship goes well beyond football as Rocker fully grasps who Stackhouse is and what he wants to be.
"He knows that I'm a great athlete on the field," Stackhouse said. "He also knows some of my passions like culinary arts. He knows that if I come to Tennessee I have a chance to live out my dream of becoming a chef."
Stackhouse loves to cook Fettuccini or Chicken Alfredo. It's a passion that has grown over the last several years.
"It started with my mom and the way she cooks her food," Stackhouse said. "How she does it and puts a taste on it. I watch a lot of Gordon Ramsey at night. Those two things make me want to be a chef and run a restaurant. The way he does it and deals with people is impressive."
Today was also another chance to spend time with Pruitt. Much like with Rocker, Stackhouse has known the top Vol for a few years now.
"I shot him in the back twice," Stackhouse said with a laugh. "He is an honest guy and he's for his players. He used to recruit Trent Thompson when he was at Georgia. He used to spend a bunch of time with his kids and his family. I can see him building the same type bond with me."
Rivals.com ranks Stackhouse as a 4-star defensive tackle in the class of 2020.