Four-star edge rusher Damien Shanklin got into Knoxville late to watch Tennessee Football. He arrived in time to get a feel for the Neyland Stadium atmosphere.
Shanklin watched the Vols fall to Georgia on Saturday. It was his first visit since receiving an offer from Tennessee Football on Nov. 6.
“Most of it was the environment because the game didn’t go as planned, as it was supposed to be, but fans were still standing there cheering on the team and then also just like being there,” Shanklin said. “It was just amazing because it’s just football there and then like you got all the fans and stuff that’s out there talking to you. So it was it was good.”
Shanklin ranks as the No. 218 prospect overall in the 2025 class according to 247Sports Composite rankings. He is also the No. 20 EDGE in his class. Out of Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Shanklin is the No. 3 prospect out of Indiana.
Currently, there are two crystal balls pointing Shaklin to Notre Dame. He said the Irish are among one of his favorites, along with Tennessee, Purdue and Michigan.
“I could just see myself playing there and just being a Vol,” Shanklin said. “I’m going to still be patient with everything because I got time, but when that time comes, that’s when I’ll make a decision.
But Tennessee is something that I like because the fan base was wonderful, but not only the fan base, the players. The players never gave up. And then it’s like more about when I was sitting there I had people from school talking to me and stuff and just the students, everything was amazing.”
The 6-foot-4 and 230-pound edge rusher was paying attention to Tennessee’s defense and how they play. He was impressed with the relentless defensive line against No. 1 Georgia’s offensive line.
“They were getting after it,” Shanklin said. “It was a good game, both sides, because the Georgia O-line was good but Tennessee D-line wasn’t backing down. They just had a motor and they just kept going and fighting for every position and every time it was like a passing down or whatever, they would always get back there and make the quarterback get the ball out.”
The Vols brought out lots of alumni for Saturday’s game. Alvin Kamara and Alontae Taylor were honored as well as Inky Johnson. Shanklin met Kamara at halftime.
The successful alumni showed Shanklin that he could achieve the same thing at Tennessee.
“It was good just knowing that they got a future and they went to the NFL and made it big and did something with their life,” Shanklin said. “Just knowing that you could get the chance to do the same thing.”
Shanklin is already planning to lock in an official visit with Tennessee Football. He also plans to make his return trip and spend more time with coaches in the spring.
“I would say Tennessee,” Shanklin said, “is probably at the top of my list with Notre Dame and Michigan.”