“I was just extremely surprised and extremely excited,” Revis later recalled of that defining moment. “I didn’t know what to say.”
Fortunately, his ear-to-ear grin said it all, and there was no doubt he was committed to the Vols heart and soul.
“I grew up a Tennessee boy all the way,” he proclaimed with pride. “I never imagined I would have this opportunity but God put it in front of me. That was His will.”
It’s all in front of Revis now, and he won’t have to worry about recruiting as he prepares for his senior season at Rhea County. He will become the first player from that school to sign with UT since Andy Kelly in 1988. Former Vols Steve and David Douglas also played at Rhea County.
“I play tackle at my high school,” Revis explained. “I’m pretty sure Tennessee is going to have me play guard or center — probably center.
“I’m going to play defense this year. I’ve got pretty good quickness. I can move laterally and I’m pretty good blocking down field.”
Kevin Revis checks in at 6-foot-3, 265 pounds and runs a time of 5.3 in the 40. He has very good balance, is aggressive, plays with sound technique and has a Spartan work ethic. He is a good center candidate because of his ability to effective reach the second and third levels of the defense.
Before Tennessee came through Revis only had one offer (from Duke), but was being actively recruited by Auburn, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Purdue, Virginia and Georgia Tech among others.
“Tennessee coaches told me they liked my aggressiveness and my footwork,” he said. “They like the fact I’m a Tennessee boy playing up against Alabama, Florida or the other rivals. I share that same dislike and that same passion to beat them.”
Revis competes with a lot of passion and plays through the whistle. His affinity for the Vols poses a sharp contrast to in-state O-line prospects like Alex Bullard, who committed to Notre Dame and Austin Long, who committed to Georgia. That should meet with Big Orange Fans’ approval, although some may question whether Revis is a reach this early in the recruiting process with high-profile prospects still available.
However the Vols staff has had good success over the years with in-state sleepers like Jason Hall, Justin Harrell and Ryan Karl. And they’ve had plenty of opportunities to evaluate Revis. The fact Duke, which is coached by David Cutcliffe and includes three other former UT staff members, offered Revis indicates he may have been overlooked to a degree. He’ll need to add muscle to play in the SEC but he has very good strength.
“Only recently we did the bench press for reps and I did 225 (pounds) a total of 12 times,” he said. “I did it seven times on the power clean and I did 330 (pounds) 14 times on the squat. I workout twice a day.”
Revis plans to study sports medicine at UT, but he has some things he wants to accomplish at the high school level. He helped lead the Golden Eagles to the state playoffs last year and is looking for bigger things in 2008.
“We got to the first round of the playoffs and got beat by Maryville,” he said. “We’re going to get them this year.”
His father is a minister and his brother is a budding junior high football star. He credits his father with helping to instill a strong work ethic.
“My father is a minister,” he said. “He’s helped me a lot. I have a younger brother that’s in the seventh grade. He’s bigger than I was in my freshman year of high school. He’s a good football player.”
In reviewing the monumental week that saw him swept from fringe prospect to Tennessee’s fifth commitment in the Class of 2009, Revis sees this as an ordain opportunity.
“We had been on an official visit last week to meet with Coach Fulmer, Coach Adkins and Coach Caldwell,” he recalled. “We talked about where we’re at and how things stood. They said we need to see you in camp and see how you work out and everything. I came to a one-day camp today (Thursday) for the morning session. I boxed a little bit, did some one-on-one protection. Coach Fulmer took us over to his office on the golf cart and when we sat down he ask me if I was ready to be a Tennessee Volunteer?”
It would have been an entirely understandable if Kevin came with a Rudy response: ‘I’ve been ready all my life coach’, but instead he let his smile do all the talking.
“There’s no other place I would rather go to school,” he said. “I gave me word and that’s the end of it. There’s no other school I really want to play for anyway.”
When Revis runs through the giant T for the first time, his feet may not touch the ground.