Naples (Fla.) RB Carlin Fils-aime committed to Tennessee on Friday morning. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder was rated the No. 11 RB in the nation per the 247sports composite.
It concluded a logical decision-making process employed by Fils-aime and his family. The family took a trip this week to their vacation home in Western North Carolina. They went to that retreat and then didn’t talk about his college recruitment for a day. He was joined by several other relatives outside of his immediate family.
Then everyone sat down and talked it out. That’s how his family went about deciding on a commitment from a finalist pool of Auburn, Miami, North Carolina, UGA and Tennessee.
“It was a family decision,” Simmons said. “We went to all these schools in his Top 5. They were all great. All the coaches were great. It came down to Tennessee and Auburn. We had narrowed it down to those two.”
Simmons said the family thought that Fils-aime was going to tweet out his decision on Friday, but the speedy four-star worked ahead of schedule. There were three points that weighed in Tennessee’s favor: 1) An academic fit; 2) Location; and 3) Travel logistics.
“There were a few factors that made us decide on Tennessee,” Simmons said. “One of those was Carlin wants to practice law. Auburn did not have a law school, but Tennessee does. Another thing is Knoxville is closer to our mountain home in North Carolina here. It was the closest school to us and only about a two-and-a-half our drive. From Naples in Florida where we live Allegiant Air flies right into Knoxville. That was another plus and he just loved the coaches and facilities there. It was just a good fit for him there. You could tell. His body language was different at Auburn and Tennessee from all the other places he visited. I could notice that as his father on all those visits.”
Fils-Aime was expected to be one of UGA’s top targets at RB for the Class of 2016 but it didn’t look that way after Dawg Night on July 18.
The 4-star prospect made the trip to UGA’s prospect camp, but left Athens feeling like he wasn’t really a priority at the position. He was disappointed he didn’t really get to meet UGA coach Mark Richt.
At Dawg Night, Fils-aime had a match race set up in the 40-yard dash with UGA running backs coach Thomas Brown, but that was put on hold.
Fils-Aime had visited Auburn earlier this month and left that campus stating that Auburn was his leader.
Meanwhile, UGA’s top priority at running back for 2016 appears to be Elijah Holyfield, the 4-star out of Woodward Academy. Holyfield said UGA’s coaches have told him that he is No. 1 on the board.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.