The Volunteers have as much recruiting momentum as any team in the country and added to it Tuesday as Daniel Helm, the No. 159 player in the country, called Tennessee head coach Butch Jones and tight ends coach Mark Elder to give them the news.
"Coach Elder was really happy, coach Jones was pretty happy too," Helm told InsideTennessee. "I'm glad I found a place to call home."
The FOX Sports NEXT four-star gives Tennessee its 10 verbal commitment of the 2014 class and fourth of the month. The Glenwood (Ill.) High School standout chose the Big Orange over other finalists Florida, Michigan and Ole Miss.
After signing JUCO transfer Woody Quinn and A.J. Branisel in the 2013 class, the Volunteers wanted two more tight ends with the rising high school seniors and hit the motherload, getting pledges from FOX Sports NEXT's Nos. 4 and 7 in the country in Helm and Ethan Wolf, respectively.
Wolf measures in at 6-feet-6, 240 pounds, while Helm is 6-4, 220. The newest Vol pledge believes the two can co-exist within the framework of the offense and help coordinator Mike Bajakian run various formations with the same personnel.
"I hope that we get along very well," Helm said. "I don't see why not. I look forward to talking to him. I talked to him at a camp way back about a year ago — I know it seems like forever. He's a very nice kid. I think we compliment each other very well.
"Coach Jake has talked about how he would really like to use 12 personnel, coach Elder as well. So, I think we both can get in the game and make a big impact. He will be good to compete against as well."
|The Vol offense coordinated by Mike Bajakian (pictured) was quite the draw for Helm.|
"That was a huge factor," Helm admitted. "Out of the schools that I was looking at, that's what they needed to have. One thing that really struck me with Tennessee was coach Jake and the way he calls plays. He looks for his playmakers. So, if I can back into one of those roles then he's going to be looking to get me the ball. That was definitely a big part of why I chose Tennessee."
The Rebels appear to have finished second in the Helm sweepstakes. Again, the role of the tight end offensively gave the Big Orange the extra leg up.
"Probably the biggest contrast I would give between the two would be that Tennessee prepares the tight end a little more. It's the Pro-Style tight end that can block as well as split out and get in a three-point stance. Ole Miss uses more of an H-back where he doesn't have his hand on the ground as much.
"Really, honestly, I like both a lot. It was really tough for me to make a decision but I got on the phone with coach Jones and what he said answered a prayer for me and that's really why I pulled the trigger."
No matter how tight the race for his services, don't look for the Chatham, Ill., native to deviate from his declaration much.
"No, I'm done. When I say I'm committed, I mean it. I will probably make an official visit to Tennessee in the fall. I will probably go to camp in the summer. But, besides that, I'm through."
The classroom has been of little challenge to Helm thus far as he carries a 5.4 grade point average with an ACT score of 32. He hopes to major in either business or engineering. He doesn't have his academic slate for his senior year fine-tuned, but he "definitely" wants enroll at Tennessee in January.