October 20, 2007
Tennessee commit likes the Gamecocks?
Toccoa (Ga.) Stephens County running back Tauren Poole committed to Tennessee on October 26, 2006. Nearly a year later, the three-star running back may be having second thoughts and SEC East rival South Carolina is making a strong push for his services.
"Tennessee is still in the running," said Tauren's mother, Nina Poole. "He's just really looking at South Carolina."
The key concern for the Poole family looks to be depth issues at the running back position.
"Actually it's Tennessee's depth chart in reference to running backs," she said. "And Coach Beamer has really been able to answer the most important questions at South Carolina. How many running backs do they have? How many are they recruiting? Are they going to redshirt? That's what Tauren wants is for them to be totally up front with him. Right now he would have a better chance of playing early at South Carolina."
While depth chart is the primary concern for the Poole family, South Carolina has other strengths as well.
"He likes being able to major in business management," she said. "South Carolina is a very high quality school. Tennessee is too but why would they want to redshirt you? He'll be a December graduate. What questions do they have?
"Tauren is looking for playing time," she said. "If Tennessee can't accomplish that even after a redshirt that's the issue. Clemson could come in and start recruiting Tauren tomorrow and you never know. The issue is playing time"
A position change also seems to be out of the question.
"My son's position can not change," she said. "I will tell you that he is a running back and he'll be a running back when he goes in the draft."
Nina Poole plays a significant role in her son's recruitment but also knows that in the end it is his decision.
"I do have a big part in it," she said. "Because I'm the one doing the background checks on these colleges. But ultimately it's Tauren's decision because he's the one that has to live with it."
When Tauren became available for comment, he spoke up about his recruitment and his commitment to Tennessee.
"I feel pretty good about the commitment [to Tennessee]," he said. "But I've looked at South Carolina in a variety of ways. I'm just going to continue to wait things out."
The deciding factor may be his upcoming official visits to the two schools, the first of which comes this weekend when he visits Tennessee and he follows that with a Nov. 10th visit to South Carolina.
"I believe so," Tauren said when asked if the visits would be the deciding factor. "I haven't been up to South Carolina. Maybe things change and maybe they don't."
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