KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- College football coaches hate surprises on National Football Signing Day, unless they're good ones. On Wednesday UT head coach Phillip Fulmer received a few that had to make him smile.
Signing Day is the first day high school and junior college football players are permitted to sign national letters of intent.
"I think it goes without saying that we're excited about this group of young men," Fulmer said in a press briefing after receiving commitments from 32 players. Five have already enrolled at UT for spring classes.
One of the surprises Fulmer received from just down the road, when Alcoa High School defensive lineman Rae Sykes announced he was committing to Tennessee instead of Florida State.
He has been named to the first-team All-State team three times.
Sykes said the decision wasn't easy for him, but decided late Tuesday he needed to go with his heart.
Another top prospect who waited until the last minute to decide was wide receiver Ahmad Paige. The Sterlington, La.-native is a two-time first-team All-State honoree. He also earned All-District and All-Northeast Louisiana honors three times.
The Vols signed several area high school players Wednesday to national letters, including Fulton's Dennis Rogan , Maryville's Tyler Maples, Loudon's Josh Hawkins, and Austin East's Anthony Anderson.
"This was the best year in the state of Tennessee we've seen," Fulmer said.
But UT coaches didn't just stick close to home to recruit players. In all, players from 13 states signed commitment papers Wednesday.
|Todd Campbell||WR||6-0, 180||Franklin||Franklin|
|Art Evans||ATH||6-1, 185||Lakeland, Fla.||Victory Christian Academy|
|Donald Langley||DT||6-2, 295||Germantown, Md.||Seneca Valley|
|Cody Pope||OL||6-5, 270||San Diego, Calif.||Cathedral Catholic|
|Darris Sawtelle||OL||6-6, 295||Birmingham, Mich.||Brother Rice|
|Anthony Anderson||ATH||6-0, 175||Knoxville||Austin East|
|Dashaun Barnes||DB||6-2, 195||Tallahassee, Fla.||Lincoln|
|Eric Berry||ATH||5-11, 195||Fairburn, Ga.||Creekside|
|William Brimfield||DL||6-6, 300||Neeses, S.C.||Hunter-Kinard-Tyler|
|B.J. Coleman||QB||6-4, 180||Chattanooga||McCallie|
|Kevin Cooper||FB||6-1, 240||Chattanooga||The Baylor School|
|Lennon Creer||RB||6-1, 202||Tatum, Texas||Tatum|
|Chris Donald||LB||6-2, 220||Huntingdon||Huntingdon|
|C.J. Fleming||DB||5-10, 165||Highland Springs, Va.||Highland Springs|
|Savion Frazier||ATH||6-1, 225||Woodbridge, Va.||Gar-Field|
|Cory Hall||DL||6-4, 255||Chattanooga||Brainerd|
|Josh Hawkins||RB||6-1, 195||Loudon||Loudon|
|Gerald Jones||ATH||6-0, 185||Oklahoma City, Okla.||Millwood|
|Tyler Maples||ATH||6-2, 190||Maryville||Maryville|
|Ben Martin||DL||6-5, 230||Cincinnati, Ohio||La Salle|
|Nevin McKenzie||DB||6-2, 210||San Antonio, Texas||Trinity Valley CC/John Jay HS|
|Rolando Melancon||DL||6-2, 260||Lutcher, La.||Lutcher|
|Darnius Moore||ATH||6-0, 185||Tatum, Texas||Tatum|
|Kenny O'Neal||WR||6-0, 195||Oakland, Calif.||City College of San Francisco/Skyline HS|
|Ahmad Paige||WR||6-3, 175||Sterlington, La.||Sterlington|
|Dennis Rogan||RB||5-10, 182||Knoxville||Fulton|
|Rae Sykes||DE||6-4, 240||Aloca||Alcoa|
|Daryl Vereen||RB||6-1, 205||Huntersville, N.C.||North Mecklenburg|
|Brent Vinson||ATH||6-2, 190||Hampton, Va.||Hargrave Military Academy/Phoebus HS|
|Chris Walker||LB||6-3, 220||Memphis||Christian Brothers|
|Rufus Williams||LB||6-3, 225||Miami, Fla.||Astronaut|
|DeAngelo Willingham||DB||6-0, 200||Calhoun, S.C.||College of the Desert [Calif.]/Calhoun HS|
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