Atlanta native and new Tennessee Volunteer Cortez McDowell has arrived on campus and couldn't be more excited to see what his future holds.
"I can't wait to get started," McDowell said. "Just to be around the rest of the guys and build a bond is going to be awesome. I've been working on my own and now I'm ready to go to work."
McDowell closed out his high school experience with a memorable spring on the baseball diamond.
"We had a blast," McDowell said. "We won the region and it was the first time our school has accomplished that. It was more special because we put in such great work and it was the best way to end my high school career."
When he's not been playing baseball, McDowell has been focused on his football future with his training.
"I've been working on my technique and just focusing on my individual improvement," McDowell said. "Some of the guys from our area have gotten together for some 7-on-7 work and it's been good to compete."
Was there a moment where the "light bulb" went off and you knew Tennessee was the best place for you?
"I'd say it was on a phone call with coach Jones," McDowell said. "We spent about 30-45 minutes on the phone and he made a commitment to me pitching the family atmosphere. I wanted to show I was loyal to him and he made it clear he would be loyal to me, but he couldn't make any promises. It meant a lot to me."
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
"I go and ride the exercise bike," McDowell said. "I also try to tell some jokes to keep the mood light, but I'm not sure I'll do that at Tennessee."
Are you looking forward to getting away from home?
"I'm excited to experience something new," McDowell said. "Just living in a new city and experiencing Knoxville for all that it is. It's exciting and I can't wait to start this journey."
What will you miss most about home?
"I'll miss my family and my baseball family at Locust Grove," McDowell said. "I love them so much and we always have a great time together."
What do you look forward to from the football side?
"Just getting Tennessee back to it's rightful place in the SEC," McDowell said. "We want to be on top and I feel like we are headed in the right direction. I want to bring energy to our team and reclaim our state."