January 22, 2011

Orta makes his choice

One week after taking in the Tennessee campus, Valdosta, Ga., safety Geraldo Orta decided to end his recruitment today when he committed to UT coach Derek Dooley and the Volunteers.

The 6-foot, 180-pound safety had been down to Tennessee and Clemson, but when Orta decided not to visit the Tigers this weekend, momentum in his recruitment swung solely to the Vols and the rest is history.

"The family environment made me want to be there," Orta said. "The coaches are great."

Along with the family environment, Orta said the history of the Tennessee football program helped make the Vols that much more appealing.

"There's lots of tradition and I can be a part of a school that really knows how football is played," Orta added.

Orta said to have the decision finally made was a big relief.

"It felt good because I finally know where I'm going and what I'm going to be a part of," Orta said.

Long recruited by Tennessee special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Eric Russell, Orta had praised his official visit last weekend to Knoxville in discussing the trip then with VolQuest.com.

"Basically, when I went to Tennessee I expected a lot, and I got a lot out of it," said the Lowndes High School product who last week was shown the ins and outs of the UT program by hosts Dontavis Sapp, also a Valdosta native, and star safety Janzen Jackson. "Tennessee is a very good school, is rich in tradition and basically has the resources to get any player, basically, that they want really. I mean, it's a great atmosphere there. I've got a very good relationship with the players. I talk to the players a lot, in case I go there. It's a very good school."

Now Orta is coming to Tennessee, and a large reason seems to be the coaching staff's deliberate, low-pressure approach that encouraged Orta to take his time with the process.

"Usually, you think of a college team, and it's a business. But with Tennessee, it's like a family environment," he said. "They really bring you in and make you feel like that's your home."

Rivals.com rates Orta as a three-star safety and a top-75 player in the state of Georgia.

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