KNOXVILLE – For much of his athletic career, it’s been more about bump, set and spike than it has been catching and blocking for junior college tight end Woody Quinn.
The former college volleyball player (Pepperdine) made a sport switch in college and turned in his volleyball career for a shot at football. The 6-6, 250-pound prospect performed well enough at Santa Ana (Calif.) Community College to earn a football offer from the Vols. He accepted that offer on Monday to become Tennessee’s most recent commitment.
Quinn told multiple recruiting websites that his official visit to Knoxville over the weekend exceeded his expectations and blew him away.
Quinn, originally from San Juan Capistrano, Calif., will enter UT as a junior and will have two years of
He appeared in nine games of Santa Ana last season, making 15 catches for 252 yards and one touchdown. He chose the Vols over offers from Fresno State and San Diego State.
Nooga.com analysis: Quinn is one of the most off-the-radar prospects signed at Tennessee in recent history. Rivals.com is the only recruiting service that has assigned him a star ranking, and some analysts don’t even have him listed in their databases.
The player that comes to mind in this situation is San Diego Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates, a former college basketball player who didn’t play football but found his way to the NFL because he was athletic for his size. It’s not fair to say Quinn will be like Gates, but there is some precedent for an athletically-gifted tight end making a smooth transition into football.
How he fits: Mychal Rivera had virtually all of Tennessee’s production at tight end last season. With his graduation, the Vols will be looking to rebuild the position.
Rising junior Brendan Downs is the only returning scholarship player that has meaningful game experience at that spot. Justin Meredith is the only other true returning tight end on scholarship, but he missed his 2012 freshman campaign with a hamstring injury.
Quinn is the third tight end committed in the 2013 class for head coach Butch Jones. A.J. Branisel of South Euclid, Ohio and Chauntez Jackson of Inglewood, Calif., are also in the fold.
It would seem logical the Vols are bringing Quinn in for immediate help at the position, but with his limited experience in football, it will be interesting to see how much he can help early.
Daniel Lewis covers University of Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga