Freshman DE Vereen explodes for 4 sacks during Vols' spring game
The true freshman defensive end thrashed his way through a veteran offensive line for a total of four sacks – all on quarterback Nathan Peterman – for a loss of over seven yards per hit.
“Corey Vereen is the type of individual that we want to recruit to come here to Tennessee,” said coach Butch Jones during the team’s post-game press conference. “He does well in the classroom; he’s quiet, but his game speaks.
“He has a great motor and he is going to do nothing but get better and better and better,” Jones continued. “He is quick twitch, he is explosive, but now he needs to get bigger. When we start in August, and it’s about winning football games for real, his level of play has to increase to be able to compete day-in and day-out, at this level.”
Vereen enters voluntary summer workouts at 230 pounds, which is considered undersized for a player on the defensive line at the Division 1-A level.
However, as former linebacker in high school, he’s been able to utilize his monstrous speed to get past outside blockers and out-work opponents to form as a true pass rusher – he compiled 15 sacks during his senior year of high school.
“Corey is a great player with a motor that doesn't stop and his work ethic is very tremendous,” said senior defensive lineman Jacques Smith. “We haven't seen trouble out of him. …he's a very talented young man and I definitely think he's going to help out this defensive line this year.”
Vereen made his mark on the coaching staff, offensive roster and the rest of the Vol nation by dominating anyone who stepped in his path.
But there’s still much work to do before he can solidify a starting position by fall.
“That was great to see on defense,” Jones said. “Offensively, there are times that the back is making a wrong cut, or slipping. There might be guys not holding on the double team enough and that all comes with timing, chemistry and repetition.
“Repetition is the mother of all learning, and that’s why this summer is going to be critical moving forward.”
*Tyler Waddell attended the Tennessee spring game. All quotes were obtained first-hand.
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