Orlando Sentinel

Winter Park DE Sneed commits to Tennessee

- By Chris Hays Email Chris Hays at chays@orlandosen­tinel.

While at UCF, former Knights football coach Josh Heupel and his staff started building a relationsh­ip with Winter Park defensive end Venson Sneed. That relationsh­ip has paid big dividends for Heupel and company, now running the show at Tennessee.

The 6-foot-6, 246-pound Sneed committed to Tennessee on Thursday.

“It just kind of shifted. The same love I was getting at UCF, I started getting when they went to Tennessee, but it was just different and more outgoing,” said Sneed, who picked the Vols over his other two finalists, Iowa State and USF. “When they got to Tennessee, it seemed like they tried harder and it was somewhere that they really wanted me to come to and somewhere I really wanted to go.”

Once he made his decision, Sneed, who is the No. 11-ranked player in the Sentinel’s 2022 Central Florida Super60, was pumped up about Tennessee.

“It feels great to be a Volunteer. It’s a moment I’ve dreamed of and I’m very happy for myself and for my family,” Sneed said. “The moment I’ve dreamed of was being able to commit to a school and just to have the chance to go to college.”

Tennessee offensive coordinato­r Alex Golesh, who held the same position at UCF, was the main recruiter for Sneed while Heupel also played a big role. Sneed said he likes his relationsh­ip with Golesh.

“It’s pretty good and we talk very often,” Sneed said. “[The conversati­on] is always pretty good. Sometimes

we talk about life and sometimes about football. It just depends on what we start talking about.”

He said the decision also puts him at ease given what the recruiting process has become with all of the COVID-19 restrictio­ns put in place by the NCAA, which decided Thursday to lift it’s pandemic-imposed recruiting dead period starting June 1.

“It is a big relief,” Sneed said. “The recruiting process is something every athlete should enjoy, but it’s a stressful thing, as well. You’ve got all of these college coaches texting you and you have to think about the decisions you make . ... It’s something you just have to go with and you can’t let it beat you. You have to beat it.”

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