Semper Fi: Austin Sanders

Austin Sanders

After dealing with the frenzy following the coaching change at Tennessee, Cleveland (Tenn.) Bradley offensive lineman Austin Sanders is ready to sign.

FULLERTON, Calif. – When Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley was fired last November, Cleveland (Tenn.) Bradley offensive lineman Austin Sanders found himself at the center of what he termed, "a big wreck."

Despite having been committed to the Volunteers since Aug. 2011, Sanders was quickly blitzed by other schools, adding four scholarship offers in the three days after Dooley's dismissal.

"It was crazy. After he got fired, they kept rolling in and rolling in and coming to school and stuff," Sanders said after practice for the Semper Fi Bowl at Fullerton College.

Sanders was also bombarded by those seeking information on Dooley's replacement, despite being totally out of the loop.

"There were so many people asking me at school who's going to be the new coach," Sanders said. "I had no idea because they don't let us know anything. It was kind of crazy everybody asking you and you being the commit, so everybody expects you to know."

But Sanders never wavered or reconsidered his pledge to Tennessee, and is looking forward to finally signing his letter of intent.

"It's going to be an awesome feeling because I have been committed for so long. I feel like I'm already a part of the team," Sanders said.

New head coach Butch Jones and offensive line coach Don Mahoney have made Sanders feel just as comfortable as he did with the previous coaching staff. Sanders said he speaks to Mahoney at least two times a week and called him three times this week during the current recruiting dead period.

Sanders also likes how he will fit in Jones' spread offense. Currently weighing in at 298.7 pounds – "People put me down at 300, so I might as well say it," he joked – he will start his college career at guard.

Asked if that would be his permanent spot, Sanders said he would like to get a chance to move outside at some point. "Try to get a little bit of Barrett Jones action, guard to tackle, whatever," said Sanders, referring to the versatile Alabama offensive lineman.

This week, however, Sanders is trying to get used to the size and speed of the defensive linemen he will be facing at the next level.

"I like it because I'm getting better," Sanders said of practices with the East team. "Where I'm from we run the ball a lot. The D-ends aren't as fast off the edge as these guys are. It's good for me to practice this all the time because when I get there it won't be a surprise."

Dan Greenspan writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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