Does Tennessee have the lead for UGA target?

DB Micah Abernathy could decide between Tennessee and UGA this week (AJC)

DB Micah Abernathy could decide between Tennessee and UGA this week (AJC)

Tennessee had the chance this weekend to make a final impression on Micah Abernathy, the 4-star defensive back from Greater Atlanta Christian high school.

Despite Tennessee’s heartbreaking loss to Florida, the Volunteers had a lot success with entertaining Abernathy and his family on an official visit.

Abernathy is expected to decide between UGA and Tennessee as early as this week after visiting both SEC schools within the last two weeks.

Tennessee's Butch Jones (AP file)

Tennessee’s Butch Jones (AP file)

“One thing that stuck out at Tennessee was the family environment,” his mother, Annette Abernathy, told the AJC. “We were very pleased with the association with the coaches and their families. We had wonderful fellowship with them after the game on Saturday.

“Of course, the facilities are awesome, and they’re in a expansion era right now. I think for Micah, the highlight for him was being able to hang out with some of the players and get a real feel for college life outside of football. He also got to see how he fit in with the guys on the team.

“We spent two days there. So I think overall the trip was very successful. I think he walked away with a whole new perspective of Tennessee. It was exciting to see 102,000 fans screaming at the game. They really support the team, whether they’re winning or not. And I think being able to sit down and have conversations with the coaches was beneficial for him hopefully making his decision soon.”

Tennessee’s sales pitch to Abernathy was easy: They will take care of him like they did his older brother (who played for Butch Jones at Cincinnati), and he can part of Tennessee’s new football tradition under Jones.

UGA's Mark Rich (AJC)

UGA’s Mark Richt (AJC)

“We know the Tennessee coaches from the Cincinnati era with another son,” his mother said. “I think the thing that was probably the biggest (point) was that Tennessee is building something special there. ‘You know, you can go to teams that are winning now, or you can go to a place like Tennessee and help build a legacy. You can start something new and be a part of that.’ I think that was probably the highlight.

“The coaches are trying to do great things at Tennessee. And I believe that the coaches will bring Tennessee football back to the light.”

What were the similarities and differences between UGA and Tennessee after visiting both schools the last two weeks? “Georgia has a winning history, while Tennessee is rebuilding,” his mother said. “That was one of the biggest differences. I have mixed emotions because I like both schools. I like the coaching staffs at both schools. I think it would go really well with each of them. That would be the similarity between Tennessee and Georgia.”

Ms. Abernathy expects her son to make his decision within the next week or so. And she said he seems to be admirably dealing with the pressures of the recruiting process.

“I think Micah is handling it very well from having so many opportunities with 30 offers,” she said. “Getting down to the final five allowed him to have sole focus and concentration on where he really wants to go. I think right now he is humbled by the opportunity, and looking forward to moving into the next phase. I think he has handled it very maturely. I think he is ready for whatever comes his way.”

Micah Abernathy hasn’t named a leader, but he has taken official visits to Tennessee, UGA and Oregon.

RELATED: Cedar Grove High School defensive end Gus Cumberlander committed to Oregon this weekend. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder is very raw and undeveloped, as reflected by his ranking as the state’s No. 129 prospect. But Cumberlander undoubtedly has a supersized ceiling of potential … We really don’t pay much attention to juniors until after signing day but it’s worth noting that Jonesboro High School junior cornerback Jordan Griffin committed to Kentucky after Saturday’s upset of South Carolina.


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— By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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