Hours into his first visit to Knoxville, Florida linebacker Dominic Zanca already had made his mind up where he wanted to play college football. He took care of the formality of making that commitment to Tennessee public after speaking with Derek Dooley on Friday morning.
Zanca -- who goes to Lake Brantley High in Altamonte Springs, Fla. -- had received just the UT offer to date, but he was being recruited by Missouri, Duke and Florida International, among others. He is rated a three-star prospect by 247 Sports and Rivals. Some recruiting analysts have lauded the Vols' early evaluation of Zanca and believe he is a prospect who will draw much more interest from major schools if he goes the camp circuit.
One of the reasons for Zanca's relative unknown status is he played much of his sophomore season for Lake Brantley as a 6-foot-2, 205 pound defensive lineman. He has a lot of speed, and his film looks pretty sick considering he was playing undersized and out of position in a high classification in Florida against quality competition. [247 has some good film of him here.] After the season, Zanca began a strict workout regimen designed to add weight, and he is currently at 6-2, 232.
Zanca -- originally believed to be recruited by the Vols as a Jack linebacker -- told several reporters that new defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri actually wants him as an inside linebacker and he will most likely fit in as a "Will" [weakside LB] for UT.
At first blush, a player with no offers isn't exactly going to light the world on fire, but the Vols have been solid with early evaluations in the Dooley tenure. Also, anytime Sunseri really likes a linebacker, you have to let his track record do the talking for him. The Vols were big fans of Zanca's film, and once they saw him in person, they took his commitment. Zanca's primary recruiter is UT recruiting coordinator Darin Hinshaw, who has gotten off to a fast start this year in recruiting.
The Vols currently have five verbal commitments, three of which are Hinshaw targets. Zanca joins Memphis defensive end Jason Carr, Florida Jack LB Corey Vereen, Lenoir City wide receiver Camion Patrick and Cleveland offensive lineman Austin Sanders.
After the loss of Dalton Santos to Texas and Otha Peters to Arkansas during last year's recruiting process, the Vols desperately need linebacker depth, and Zanca was a guy they evaluated early, and now he's in the fold. The coaches loved his tackling ability, how he used his hands to shed blockers and his quickness to the ball.
Welcome to Big Orange Country, Mr. Zanca!