The Top 50 prospect from Northside (Tenn.) didn’t fly across to the country to make his announcement — but only after he was nudged by folks at the all-star event to go on TV did he reveal his college choice live on the NFL Network.
“It was really crazy,” the 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive lineman told VolQuest. “I was talking to my mommy about it this last week. We was going to do it on Twitter or something, but then they pulled me over to the side and said NFL Network wanted me to do it there. So I ended up going over there and then it just happened.”
Emerson’s public pledge gives the Vols 16 commits in their 2018 class — eight blue-chippers after signing just nine total in 2017. Emerson picked Tennessee over finalist Oregon, Alabama, Ohio State, Ole Miss and others.
Emerson has long said Tennessee felt most like “home,” and he “officially” knew it's where wanted to play “about a week ago.”
BRINGING THE TOUGHNESS AND PHYSICALITY TO THE TRENCHES ON ROCKY TOP #DOM1N8 💪🏼🍊
— Brady Hoke (@UTCoachHoke) July 4, 2017
Still, Monday’s reveal was a surprise — especially to Tennessee’s coaches. The Vols’ staff was caught off guard when Emerson called Butch Jones to deliver the news.
Just a day earlier, Emerson sustained a brutal injury at The Opening, breaking his left ankle during 1-on-1 drills. Emerson actually won the rep, but his weight shifted at the end and his ankle simply "popped."
The Jackson native said his injury wasn’t a factor in his ultimate decision, though.
Emerson will be out “about 4-to-6 weeks” with the disclosed ankle, and he doesn’t believe the injury with spoil his senior season. Asked what was racing through his mind while he was laying on the turf Sunday, he said, “Honestly, the only thing that was going through my head was can somebody hurry up and put this (ankle) back into place. “I couldn’t think of anything else. That’s the only going through my head when it happened. The first three minutes, you know, it didn’t even hurt. My adrenaline was rushing so fast, and then afterwards, I really started to feel it once I got on the ambulance. Then finally they put me to sleep, and my biggest question was just, ‘How long would it be before I got back on my feet?’”
Emerson was satisfied with the doctors answers and is already chomping at the bit to get started on his rehab.
He’s glad his decision his public, too, especially completing the #Big3 in-state DL trio with his buddies Brant Lawless and D'Andre Litaker, as well as rejoin his Jackson native Trey Smith.
“I’m very excited that I got my mind made up,” he said.“I’ll still take my five official visits. Still want to checkout four other colleges. … But I’m good.”