November 14, 2010

Coveted Couch leaves Rocky Top with a leader

The offers from college programs seeking the talents of Maurice Couch span coast-to-coast and points in between.

But the 6-foot-2-inch, 295-pound defensive tackle from Garden City Community College in Kansas saw exactly what he needed and wanted during his official visit this weekend to the University of Tennessee.

"It went real well. Everything I was looking for in a school, they pretty much had it here. On the football aspect, the supporting staff, the academics, it was all-around excellent," said Couch, who had offers from both USCs --- Southern Cal and South Carolina --- among myriad others. "It's hard to beat."

Hard enough that Couch departed Knoxville with Tennessee as his leader?

"Yeah," said Couch, who maintained a December 1 timeline for a decision. "I'm going to probably make my decision on the first still. But how it's looking, I think I may be here."

Couch, who told that he won't take any other visits, talked candidly about his close-knit relationship with the entire Tennessee coaching staff.

"Oh man, they're all great. They're big on family," said Couch, spotted in the recruiting section inside Neyland Stadium cheering during the Vols' 52-14 blowout win against Ole Miss Saturday. "That's what I'm looking for, you know. So I'm very, I believe in everything coach Dooley believes in.

"It's a lot [of an influence] because I believe you should have a relationship and trust with all your coaches. That's very big to me."

Tennessee's coaches have perhaps made their biggest impression on Couch by simply picking up the phone. Not necessarily to call the coveted four-star JuCo prospect but rather to take Couch's calls to them.

"Yeah, I basically don't wait for them to call me. I have a good relationship with all the coaches, so if I have any type of question I will just call them," he said. "Any time of day, you know, they're willing to talk to me."

As for what stood out about the actual visit as Couch departed Knoxville?

"The stadium, and just all the facilities. That's what really stood out to me," said the easygoing and soft-spoken Couch. "I got in Friday at 1, and then I went and ate and saw around the school and stuff. The Vol Hall, how big it is and just everything that comes with (stood out). That was a big plus."

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