Tennessee football head coach Josh Heupel has been recruiting Cameron Sparks since he was in eighth grade. The class of 2025 five-star prospect has grown close to Tennessee.
Ranked the No. 18 prospect nationally, Sparks was back in Knoxville on Tuesday to take a look at Tennessee. He has formed a connection with Heupel that he doesn’t have with other coaches.
“Me and coach Heup, I’d say we’re close,” Sparks told Off The Hook Sports. “I could talk to him about anything I feel like. Usually, when you go to a power-five school, especially in the SEC, you have to go through many people to get to the head guy. It’s not like that with Heupel at all.”
The pair don’t just talk about football, but other stuff as well.
“A variety of things, it ranged from Baylor to just vacation over spring break to Tennessee,” Sparks said. “I love him, he’s a down to Earth dude.”
The in-state prospect attends Baylor School in Chattanooga. He ranks as the No. 2 prospect in the 2025 class from the state of Tennessee.
Sparks is listed as an athlete, and he played all over the field for Baylor School. He ranks as the No. 1 athlete in his class. On Tuesday though, he focused on Tennessee’s wide receiver room.
“It’s efficient, everything they do is with a purpose,” Sparks said of practice. “The way they move the ball out and spread the ball and use different guys in different situations to their skill set is phenomenal.”
Before watching practice, Sparks got to sit in on the receivers’ meeting. After a few days off for Easter, the receivers were tired in the meeting room.
Pope’s response to his room being tired surprised Sparks, and left a good impression on the prospect.
“It’s unique, it’s unique in the way that he understands the players,” Sparks said. “Instead of just bashing them and getting on them for being tired, Coach Pope turned on some music in the background, some music that everybody likes. So, as he’s going through the things and talking to them, they would become more active and talkative.”
Sparks is taking a trip to South Carolina for its spring game on April 15. He has also been in contact with Alabama, Georgia and Virginia Tech.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound athlete grew up a Georgia fan, and he watched the Bulldogs beat Tennessee on his visit in the fall. Sparks, however, has put his fandom behind him to take an objective look at each school.
“I don’t really have a favorite team anymore,” he said. “I just have to think about ‘can I see myself here, is this the best place for me’ not who is the most popular, who I like the most.”
The Vols are beginning to separate themselves from other schools for Sparks, who has been to Tennessee several times.
“They’ve been on me since I was 14 years old in the eighth grade,” Sparks said. “They’re consistent. It’s not like there’s a drop off in their program, on their staff. There’s no drop-off anywhere.”
As he continues to look at schools, he plans to attend a camp at Tennessee and get to Knoxville for games in the fall. For Sparks, he has something that stands out when he visits a school.
“Just building a relationship between myself and the coaches and my parents,” he said. “If my parents feel comfortable around the coaches. If my family feels comfortable around them then I’m comfortable.”
Sparks’ family is important to him, and his family feels the love at Tennessee.
“They love Tennessee,” Sparks added. “They like getting up there every single time.”