When Vysen Lang traveled to Tennessee in September for his official visit with the Vols, he warned his parents that he might be ready to make up his mind by the end of his weekend in Knoxville. Everything turned out exactly as he thought.
The Pike Road High School (Alabama) Class of 2023 offensive lineman celebrated his 18th birthday Tuesday night by finally revealing the pick he made more than six weeks ago. He announced his commitment to Tennessee during a ceremony at his school, choosing the Vols over Auburn and scholarship offers from more than 20 other schools.
The 6-foot-4.5, 335-pound Lang became Tennessee’s 22nd commitment for the 2023 class. He also joined offensive tackle Top247 Shamurad Umarov of Alpharetta, Georgia, and Ayden Bussell of Mount Juliet, Tennessee, as the projected third offensive lineman in the Vols class.
Lang most recently returned to Tennessee on Oct. 15 for the Vols’ 52-49 win over the then No. 1. 3 Alabama, their first win over rival Crimson Tide in 16 years. But he said he informed the Tennessee coach Josh Heupelof his decision nearly three weeks earlier, towards the end of his official visit on the weekend of September 24 for the Vols victory over Florida.
“When I went there, I said to my parents, ‘Don’t be surprised if I join,’ because I told them, ‘I love Tennessee. I see myself playing up there. Lang told GoVols247 before going public with his decision.
“I was like, ‘If this official visit goes well, if I feel comfortable and everything, I’m committing,’ and that’s what I did.”
He said he chose Tennessee because it has “a good combination of everything I look for in a school,” starting with the coaching staff. He has visited the Vols four times since receiving an offer from Heupel staff in February.
“They’re family-oriented,” said Lang, who is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 41 interior offensive lineman in the 2023 class and the No. 22 senior at Alabama State. “When I go there, I will feel like part of the family. I’m not just going to feel like another player.
“And then in the locker room, I connect and vibe with all the guys. I already have friends up there in the locker room right now that I’m texting and hanging out with. And then the one of the most important things is to win, because I won in high school and I won in college. And I want to keep winning in college, because losing is not fun. I want to go to a school that wins and help the team win too.
Former Tennessee coach Jeremy PruittLang’s staff made his second offer over two years ago, in April 2020. The Vols had become one of the top candidates for him over the past few months, and he knew it by the end of his official visit. in Tennessee – the only official visit he took to this point – that he wanted to play there.
“I told them during this official visit that I was getting involved,” he said. “They didn’t think I was going to do it, so they dropped everything. Their eyes grew large and wide. Their mouths were breathtaking, and they all jumped on me and started hugging.
Lang said Tennessee’s “fanbase” was among the other factors that convinced him to play for the Vols.
“When I’m walking down the street before the game, and, like, (in September) when I was there, everyone was throwing up like, ‘Hey, Vysen, welcome to Rocky Top. We love you here’ ( and) just everything, like, ‘We can’t wait to cheer you on here,'” he said. “I just felt welcome there — a kid from Alabama going all the way to Tennessee and always feeling at home.”
He said the Tennessee coaches, led by the offensive line coach Glen Elarbee, told him that “they had high hopes for me”. He said the Vols told him “I can play tackle or guard.”
It may not be long before Lang officially starts in Tennessee. He said he plans to travel to Knoxville next month to participate in some of the Vols bowl practices on campus before enrolling in January.
“They believe in me, because they brought me and other players on December 15 – like, come very early – so I told my parents that’s already a good sign that they want that I’m on campus as soon as possible,” he said.
“At first, I thought I was going to go to campus on January 21. But then they called my mother two weeks ago and they said, ‘Can Vysen come on December 15?’ It was almost two months ago. But we were okay with that, because it’s time for me to get down to business. If they want me to come up this early, that means they have plans for me, so I just have to go and not disappoint.
Lang said he was even more excited to start in Tennessee because of the Vols’ performance on the field this season. He said their breakthrough season in their second year under Heupel only made him feel better about his decision, although he added that he “still would have gone to Tennessee” even if it didn’t. wasn’t “the number one team” last week. initial college football playoff standings.
“Before the season, I thought this team could be the one to beat ‘Bama and win the national championship, and they did that in the same season,” he said. “I was already believing in them during the summer and everything. They just happened to do it.
Although he also listed LSU and Texas as finalists, he said Auburn was second to Tennessee ahead of the Tigers coach. Bryan Harsin‘s laid off on October 31. Even if a new coaching staff at Auburn contacts him in the coming weeks, Lang said he doesn’t expect to seriously consider the Tigers or any other team until signing day begins Dec. 21. 21.
“I won’t disrespect them,” he said. “But I’m a Tennessee Vol.”
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