WR Josh Malone chooses Tennessee

Josh Malone makes his decision on NBC Sports Network.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Elite receiver prospect Josh Malone ended a fierce recruitment by verbally committing to play for Tennessee in a ceremony at his high school on Wednesday.

“Finally, after several family discussions and hours of prayer, I have decided to play football for the University of Tennessee,” Malone. “I felt like I had a better opportunity there. I put no emotion in it. Distance wasn’t a factor.”

Malone selected the Vols over Clemson and Georgia. He had signed aid agreements with all three schools, allowing coaches unlimited contact in the final days before his decision.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones and his staff had several lengthy in-home visits with Malone, a high four-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite ratings.

“Josh is a very, very talented young man who has a bright future ahead of him. He’s a complete football player,” Jones said.

(Coaches are allowed to comment about players who have signed aid agreements).

Malone, of Station Camp High in Gallatin, plans to enroll in January and participate in spring practice. He’ll be expected to contribute immediately in the Vols’ rebuilding receiving corps.

“I feel like the opportunity to come in early was better at Tennessee,” Malone said. “I talk to the coaches all the time about the quarterback situation, and I feel comfortable with that.”

The Vols now have 33 verbal commitments. Jones has said he would like to have 14 early enrollees in January.

Malone is the second highest-rated player in the Vols’ class of 2014, according to the 247Sports Composite.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdDFkQjlNckE4dTlJV1ZXMUFMYjd2TUE&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true” height=”700″]

The Vols still wouldn’t mind adding a defensive tackle or offensive lineman (perhaps of the junior college variety), but most of their needs have been met. Even the weaknesses might not be so great, as some of the bigger ends could shift inside to tackle.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdHdmMDg5ZnlaZFl3VlAzNXRMSEpyeWc&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true” height=”450″]