Less than five months after committing to the University of Tennessee, football and basketball star Tee Higgins has decided to reopen his recruiting.
Higgins made the announcement Thursday on his official Twitter account, adding that he's not ruling Tennessee out:
It was a tough decision... pic.twitter.com/mCwiBJdevk— Tee Higgins® (@teehiggins5) February 5, 2016
Higgins originally committed to Tennessee in August, explaining the process to Mike Blackerby of the Knoxville News Sentinel: “I talked to Coach Jones and told him I’ve got some news. It (UT) is right in my backyard and my family can come watch me play. I was just ready to commit.”
It was a boon for Volunteers head coach Butch Jones, as Higgins is a 4-star prospect, the seventh-ranked wide receiver and the No. 39 overall prospect in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.
Higgins is also the third-ranked player in the state of Tennessee, so keeping one of the best talents in-state could only help Jones. While Higgins isn't taking the Volunteers off his board entirely, this is a nervous time for the program.
Making matters even more tense in Tennessee is that Higgins attended Clemson's junior day last weekend, per Cory Fravel of 247Sports.
The defending ACC champion Tigers are ranked second on 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions for Higgins, garnering 31 percent of the votes. Those results have not yet been updated to reflect his decision, but it certainly appears as if Clemson is making noise.
Richard Daugherty of 1340 WKGN in Knoxville noted that there is a precedent for Jones to entice players back who have decommitted during the recruiting process:
Butch Jones was able to get Jonathan Kongbo to recommit. Can he get Tee Higgins back too? https://t.co/hFy9obu0FZ— Richard Daugherty (@RichardTheDrive) February 5, 2016
Considering that Higgins has one full year before national signing day, he is under no pressure to make a decision right now.
His having more time to think about his best interests, both on the field and in the classroom, will be better for all parties involved.