D.J. Swearinger, the 5-foot-11, 196-pound safety from Greenwood, S.C., now says there's one clear leader. "Tennessee is number one," said Swearinger, whose first name is actually Dayarlo.
Swearinger now has 11 scholarship offers. He attended Tennessee's June 12 camp and admits he had to stop himself from committing. "Everything there just felt right," he said. "I actually thought about committing but I really want to take some other visits and see if anybody else could get me to change my mind. Right now I'd say Tennessee's chances are real good. It's like 85 percent."
The Vols now lead solidly over Auburn, Michigan, South Carolina and North Carolina, all of whom have offered.
"I grew up watching Tennessee," he said. "When I was younger, I just loved the way they played.
"I had a really great time when I was there," Swearinger said. "All the coaches seemed like great guys and I got to talk to just about all of them one-on-one. I just felt comfortable there and felt like that could be a place where I could see myself living for about four to five years. I also think I fit their system well and could see myself do well there."
Swearinger has been very busy the past week and also attended a camp at South Carolina on June 7 and Georgia on June 14.
"South Carolina was good too," he said. "They are in my backyard and only like one and half hours away. The coaches are cool and very fun to be around. I've also gotten really well-acquainted with the players because I went to a few games there last season."
In fact, Swearinger is friends with Gamecocks freshman cornerback Jay Spearman. "He really wants me to take an official visit there so that he can show me around even more," he said. "He said he'd look out for me if I went there and he's talked about how cool it would be to play together again, but it's not something I'm thinking about.
"I'm making my decision based on me, my parents and God," he said. "But it would be a plus to go somewhere I already know somebody."
One school that he hasn't had a chance to visit yet is Michigan. "It's the Big House," Swearinger said. "They play big-time football and I think coach Rich Rodriguez will do great there. I really liked what he did at West Virginia, especially the offense they ran and hopefully that will work at Michigan too."
Another program that Swearinger calls "big time" is Auburn. "I love the SEC," he said. "It's the strongest conference in college football and Auburn is always a top team. They have one of the best defenses every year and it's a real cool football town. It's a great place to play."
Swearinger says he also has offers from Duke, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Maryland and Illinois.
"I might be narrowing down my list a bit more during the season," he said. "I plan to take a few official visits before I commit.
"I'm looking for a school with a good program and where I fit in and feel at home," he said. "I also want to get along with the coaches and really have a special relationship with them. I want to be in a big environment and where the fans love their team."
Swearinger finished his junior season with 93 tackles, two blocked field goals, two blocked punts (one for a touchdown) and one interception. His team finished the season with a 11-2 record, losing in the second round of the playoffs after winning the 4A state championship his sophomore season.
"I want to go get the championship back this season," he said.
He benches 265-pounds, squats 385 and has a 41-inch vertical jump.
"I have the ability to go out and make plays," he said. "I have a lot of experience and I’m like a quarterback of the defense. I'm smart and know what to do. I also love to hit. If it's moving - I'll hit it. I like laying down a whooping.
"But I'm still trying to improve on every aspect of my game," he said. "You always have to keep trying to get better. Even the pros aren't perfect.
"Our team works out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and I also work out on my own," he said. "I do a lot of footwork drills and just try to stay in shape."
Swearinger reports a 3.1 core GPA and a 800 SAT, which he took as a sophomore. He doesn't have a retake date set yet.