Even before Chandavian Bradley traveled to Tennessee for the first time in late May, the Vols had made enough of an impression to establish themselves as one of the teams to beat for him. Once he arrived on campus, it didn’t take long for him to decide he wanted to play there.
The five-star rusher for the class of 2023 at Platte County High School in Platte City, Mo., announced Sunday afternoon that he has committed to Tennessee, choosing the Vols over South Carolina and the Texas A&M. The Gamecocks and Aggies both hosted him on official visits last month, but he admitted his mind has been on Tennessee since his first trip to Knoxville the weekend of May 28.
“I was there for a good, like, three days, I’m pretty sure,” Bradley told GoVols247 before publicly revealing his decision, referencing his unofficial visit with the Vols that told him. allowed to attend their “Rocky Topalooza” event.
“I think halfway through day two I was like, ‘This is the place. “”
The 6-foot-4, 211-pound Bradley gave the Vols their 17th commitment for the 2023 class and their fifth in 10 days. He joined four stars Caleb Herring of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a top 50 prospect on the 247Sports Rankings, as the second projected edge runner in Tennessee’s 2023 class.
Bradley said the “family atmosphere” in Tennessee played a major role in his decision, as well as the relationship he established with Vols’ coach. Josh Heupel‘s staff – led by a defensive analyst Levorn Harbinoutside linebackers coach Mike Ekeller and Heupel itself – and some of Tennessee’s current commitments.
“I mean, even from that one tour we went on, you could kind of tell the family atmosphere and just the atmosphere in general,” said Bradley, who is ranked No. 36 overall. and No. 5. Class of 2023 and Missouri State’s No. 1 rising senior, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite.
“Even though it’s summer and people are gone, you can kind of tell from the energy that they really care about their people.”
Tennessee extended a scholarship offer to Bradley in February. He said the Vols were involved with him for months before officially joining the race for him, and by the time he traveled to Knoxville in May they were already one of the top teams he was considering.
He said it was because of the ties he made with the Harbin Security Pledge, Heupel, Tennessee Jack Lutrell from Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, Georgia, and Herring.
“It’s definitely the fact that I stayed in touch with Coach ‘Chop’ and Coach Heupel,” Bradley said, referring to Harbin and the Vols’ second-year head coach. “Like, almost every day, I talk to Coach ‘Chop.’
“And even at that, I’m talking to a lot of commits and a lot of other recruits that are recruited there, so getting to know the relationship between the guys that are already going to school there, and then getting the relationship between coaching the staff and the people who are already working there and everything. …
“I have certainly heard of both Caleb Herring and Jack Lutrell the most (among Tennessee commitments). I keep in touch with Jack every day. I talk to him almost every day, and I’ve talked to him every day since, I think, December. Caleb, I’ve been talking since the day he got engaged, and he’s been trying to lure me out ever since.
“I mean, pretty much all the guys have been very supportive of everything I’ve done, and they’ve really been like, ‘Well, don’t have too much fun (visiting other schools), but have fun. you while you ‘went out.’
Bradley said he first informed Harbin of his decision weeks before his announcement on Sunday afternoon. Bradley said Harbin was thrilled to hear he was heading to Tennessee.
“He was thrilled to hear it,” Bradley said of Harbin. “He was like, ‘OK, this is going to be fine.'”
The Vols have told Bradley they’re excited for what his addition could mean for their passing rush, and he may have the opportunity to compete for some early playing time.
“They really want me to play more on the weak side – the Leo position they have,” he said. “They’re going to put me in there, make me both back into the blanket and rush out of the way – pretty much the same things I’m doing in high school right now.
“I mean, with the way their roster is set up right now, it definitely looks like I have a chance to come in and make a difference instantly.”
Luttrell was the first commitment from Tennessee to connect with Bradley, but Herring has remained in frequent contact with Bradley since announcing his commitment to the Vols in April.
“We’ve definitely talked about what we can do together, especially because our playstyles mesh really well with each other – the two speed guys,” Bradley said of Herring. “I think even he thinks, most likely, he’ll be more of the rusher – the full-time rusher – and I’ll be more, like, if we need the passing game, I can come back into coverage or whatever. that is .”
Bradley said he was scheduled to make his official visit to Tennessee the weekend of Oct. 15 for the Vols’ home game against Alabama. With three more official visits left, he said “the door will be closed” for other teams to take him out of Tennessee.
A two-sport standout who also plans to play basketball for the Vols, he said he’s on track to graduate in May before enrolling at Tennessee next year. He said playing basketball in college “wasn’t that important, honestly,” but the Vols coaches told him they were willing to let him try playing both sports.
“If the opportunity presented itself to me, I was going to take it wherever I went,” Bradley said. “But they just happen to let me, so I’m going to go ahead and do it.”