Elijah Melendez got off the phone after a normal conversation with Tennessee football defensive analyst Danny O’Rourke and didn’t think much of it. O’Rourke texted him about an hour later to call back.
The second call included Melendez, a class of 2025 linebacker, being extended a scholarship offer from Tennessee.
“I called him back and he told he forgot to tell me he offered me, so it’s kind of funny,” Melendez told Off The Hook. “It felt really good. That’s like a big dream offer.”
ESPN holds Melendez as a four-star prospect, while 247Sports holds the linebacker as a three-star. Early in his recruitment, Tennessee checks a lot of boxes.
“It’s a great school in the SEC, the colors are amazing,” Melendez said. “I really like their uniforms, that’s a big thing. Their colors, their uniforms, it’s just Tennessee. It’s a big name.”
Melendez currently holds eight power-five offers, including four other SEC offers. He is also receiving interest from almost every school in Florida as well as Alabama, Oregon, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame.
“It means a lot,” Melendez said of the college attention. “I’m just putting God first, trying to stay prayed up and not get too caught up in it. Just treating it like it’s normal, staying humble.”
At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Melendez can play a versatile role as a linebacker. Tennessee hasn’t told Melendez where they want him to play. During his trip to Knoxville in June, he expects to learn a lot more about where the Vols project him.
“I’m big enough to play the MIKE, I’m tall enough to play outside, I’m fast enough to play the WILL, I can also play a little bit of EDGE,” he said. “Colleges just see me everywhere because I’m really big, but I run a 4.4 4-yard dash. College coaches see me as a versatile player.”
Melendez also plans on visiting Auburn, Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Alabama and several Florida schools as well.
Melendez attends Osceola in Kissimmee, Florida. Going into his junior season this fall, he hopes to bring home a Florida state championship.
“I’m not scared of anything,” Melendez said. “I’m not scared of the competition.”
As for his personal goals, Melendez hopes to solidify himself as the top linebacker in his class. He is seeing the fruition of his hard work through his recruitment.
“It feels really good, I just want to stay humble,” Melendez said. “I’m so blessed, I’m just trying to be as grateful as I can. It’s just God, I’m happy the work is paying off from God.”