July 18, 2012

Gaulden says '14 stars discuss playing together

It had been a few months since 2014 prospect Rashaan Gaulden had stepped foot onto the University of Tennessee campus, though he remained in weekly contact with Vols cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley.

This week, Gaulden made it back to Rocky Top for Tennessee's final prospects' camp. Mostly just strengthening relationships with UT coaches and fellow recruits, Gaulden said he liked what the trip was yielding.

"I hadn't gotten to get up here since the spring game, so I just wanted to come and let them know I'm still very interested in the program," said the 6-foot-1, 172-pound safety who also doubles some at receiver. "It's really good, just building a good relationship on the phone and off the phone in person is really key to me. I'm just trying to build on that and see how the rest of my high school career goes."

Just as Josh Malone told VolQuest.com earlier this week, Gaulden reiterated the message being delivered by Tennessee's coaches to a potential bumper crop of 2014 prospects. Gaulden said he liked the message and liked discussing their prospective futures with his fellow recruits.

"A lot of talent. We talk about it often," said the articulate and polished Gaulden, also a track star. "We just talked about it (this week); I was with Todd Kelly (Jr.) and Josh Malone and we talked about waiting to commit because we have, there's a possibility of all of us going to the same college. We talk about that kind of stuff. And that could be major."

Might the grouping continue down this path and even dub themselves a nickname when the time comes?

"You never know. Stuff can happen, and I'm just going to wait it out and see how that goes. But it's a good possibility," Gaulden said.

As for what he was taking away from this Tennessee trip, Gaulden was trying to explore different areas of campus in addition to furthering his ties with the coaches.

"Coming up here, it's always a business trip. You want to see what you can get in different areas on each trip, and I really like what I got out of this trip," Gaulden said. "I'm just looking forward to seeing the players do their one-on-ones and seven-on-sevens later."

Unspoken but also in Gaulden's inner circle of 2014 prospects is close friend Vic Wharton who camped at UT this week as well. While Wharton had a hamstring issue on Monday that slowed his ability to showcase his skills, Gaulden believes the two will show well together this fall at Independence High School.

"When you have two big-time 2014 players coming together on the same team, that's definitely major. You know you're going to have a lot of colleges around you and it makes it easier for coaches to just come visit one school rather than having to visit separate schools," Gaulden explained. "I think it has the capability of being a very good fit for both of us."

Like Malone and Kelly Jr., Gaulden is among the elite in-state prospects for 2014 and projects to be a top-five or top-10 prospect in the Volunteer State. Gaulden has nearly double-digit offers and has recently visited Cincinnati, Ohio State and Vanderbilt prior to his time this week on Rocky Top.

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