A day after receiving the huge news that Todd Kelly Jr. was following in his famous father's footsteps and committing to the Tennessee Volunteers, another legacy decided to make his pledge official as well.
Neiko Creamer -- a 6-foot-4, 220-pound jumbo receiver from Eastern Christian Academy in Elkton, MD -- gave his verbal pledge to Butch Jones and the Vols on Monday, becoming Tennessee's third commitment in three days and third legacy prospect already in this class. Creamer had developed a strong bond with Vic Wharton [nephew of former UT basketball standout Brandon Wharton] and TKJr., and he made public what he had been hinting at now for months.
On Creamer's Twitter account, he has had "Future Tennessee Volunteer" plastered all over his account for a while. While he attends the private school in Maryland, his hometown is listed as Bear, Delaware. The next four years, he'll call Knoxville home.
Creamer's father Andre was a punt returner and defensive back from 1984-87 who is best remembered for this punt return that set up the game-winning touchdown in '84's win over Alabama. He visited Knoxville back earlier this winter, and many thought he'd pull the trigger for UT but decided instead to wait. With all the buzz surrounding the program during the past few days, Creamer decided to commit. He missed a lot of time last season with an injury so highlights are few and far between out there, but he certainly looks the part and has had a committable offer now for a long time.
Creamer is a three-star prospect on 247 Sports as well as Scout and his future position is unknown. At his size he could easily grow into a hybrid tight end or a linebacker. He runs between a 4.6 and 4.7 40-yard dash, and there were several people around UT who weren't sure how well he was put together until a recent visit. When they saw what kind of athlete he was, it was a no-brainer that he was highly coveted as part of this class. Early in the process, he had offers from Rutgers, Boston College, Syracuse and Temple.
Now the question is where will Creamer play at UT? The Vols lost all but 20 percent of its receiving yards, so there is certainly playing time to be had at the position. But with newcomers Paul Harris, MarQuez North, Josh Smith and another legacy Ryan Jenkins coming in the 2013 class, wide receiver may not be as big a need as originally expected. Even so, Jones was adamant that he doesn't have near the depth at the position that he'd like.
Another thing to remember about a receiver Creamer's size -- which is similar to that of redshirt freshman receiver Jason Croom who is already on campus and expected to contribute this fall -- is that in Jones' run-first spread, big, physical receivers are needed for blocking purposes. Creamer is certainly big and physical enough to be a presence in that regard.
Creamer's commitment continues the good vibes reverberating throughout Knoxville since Saturday's banner day that included a basketball victory over Missouri and the opening of football spring practice where more than 30 alumni attended. Before the day was finished, word circulated that 6-foot-6, 298-pound offensive lineman Coleman Thomas had pledged to Jones, giving UT its second commitment of the 2014 class joining Wharton. Then late yesterday evening, TKJr. committed and now Creamer.
With Creamer, TKJr. and Wharton on board, there still remains several Vols targets who are legacies still on the market. Four-star linebacker Dillon Bates has a UT offer and is a major need; Eric Berry's twin brothers and James Berry's sons Evan and Elliott, are also major targets and legacies. Then there's tight end Cole Cook who doesn't yet have an offer but could soon. If all those guys jump on board soon, it sure enough will be a great start to what should be a class of 30-31 prospects when it is all said and done.
The crown jewel of the class would be five-star running back Jalen Hurd, who is being urged strongly and recruited by several UT players and commitments. Hopefully, they'll remain in his ear and this can be the class that helps turn things around.
But the newest piece of the puzzle is Creamer, and we're excited to have him aboard.