June 12, 2013

Lauderdale set for Rocky Top visit

Mission Viejo, Calif., wide receiver Eric Lauderdale continues to impress college programs. The Saddleback Community College standout is getting looks from some big-time programs with Tennessee being one of those schools. He will be in Knoxville on Thursday to check out Rocky Top and can't wait to arrive.

"I'm looking forward to checking things out," Lauderdale said. "I heard the campus was nice. I'm ready to meet coach Butch (Jones). I've just spoken to him over the phone. Just hang out with the players and get a feel for everything."

Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni is in charge of landing Lauderdale, but it's Butch Jones who continues to impress the pass-catcher.

"He loves Tennessee," Lauderdale said. "He loves the organization and he just is so hyped up every time I talk to him. He has told me I'm going to love the facilities and I'm sure I will.

"He's real cool. I can call him for anything. He face-timed me and he was asking me about my shoe collection. He likes the Miami Heat, but I don't like them. I give him a hard time about them."

So what does Lauderdale expect when he arrives on campus? He knows Tennessee is going to throw its best sales pitch at him.

"I know they are going to show me the academic side," Lauderdale said. "I want to major in business, and I'm sure they are going to show me how that side will work. I'm also interested to see how the players interact and how the coaches are with the players."

Florida, Miami, Arizona State, Arkansas and several others are in the mix with Tennessee. The Vols continue to push for the top spot, but do they have it?

"They are up there," Lauderdale said. "I do like them a lot. They have a lot to offer with early playing time. They don't have many scholarship receivers. They need more asap. They've told me I'll have an opportunity if I come in and work hard. Right now, I'm open to everyone, but Tennessee is impressive."

Playing at the JUCO level, Lauderdale was hoping to enroll next January, but that doesn't appear to be the case now.

"I was hoping to enroll in Janaury, but that's changed," Lauderdale said. "Some things happened with online classes and that messed up my plan. It's OK though. I have no complaints."

Rivals.com ranks Lauderdale as a 4-star wide receiver in the class of 2014.

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