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A college football recruiting battle in the SEC East between Tennessee and Kentucky came to an end when cornerback Cristian Conyer out of South Warren High School (Ky.) in Bowling Green committed to the Vols, in an announcement Sunday.
After visiting programs such as Oregon, Louisville, Purdue and Cincinnati, Conyer had seemingly narrowed down his pick between Tennessee and Kentucky as a decision loomed.
The Class of 2023 cornerback touted the Vols’ secondary coaching staff, giving a shout-out to defensive backs coach Willie Martinez. Conyer deemed Martinez’s tutelage as a vital factor in picking either SEC program.
“At my position, corner, Coach Martinez is very experienced, and he’s put a lot of people to the next level,” said Conyer. “And he’s just developed a lot of good athletes, and I feel like he can develop me at the same rate that he’s developed them.”
Conyer first met with the Vols in early March and had a study session with Martinez during his visit.
“Coach Martinez, I actually did my research, and he actually broke down my film and compared what I do to what he can fix and stuff like that, and he really felt like he was my coach already,” Conyer added. “He was correcting some things I had on my game, and I fixed those things and it made my game better.”
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound corner will be joining the Vols alongside Tennessee Select teammate Caleb Herring. The four-star edge rusher was another quality commit drawn to Josh Heupel’s budding regime.
By sticking with Tennessee, Conyer and Herring find themselves not too far from home.
“Knoxville is just three hours (away),” Conyer noted. “I’m in Nashville, like, every weekend, anyway, so Tennessee already kind of feels like home, a home state.”
According to 247Sports, Conyer is ranked as the No. 4 recruit in the state of Kentucky and the No. 56 cornerback in the Class of 2023.
“I was just really looking at who I think I can play with and get a national title with,” Conyer shared. “Which team, when I go up there and hang out with them outside of the visit, who do I have a better vibe with? Who can I see myself hanging out with and playing with? And, in that aspect, I really just get a better vibe from Tennessee.”
Kentucky’s loss in the recruiting battle did appear to sting at the moment. Wildcats associate head coach Vince Marrow went on Twitter to give a subtle nod to the splash signing by Tennessee.
“About to enjoy the biggest day of my life,” Marrow tweeted, referring to a family wedding that took place Sunday.
“We will see them dudes in a few months lol. Go Big Blue.”
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Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela