KNOXVILLE — The son of a former Tennessee linebacker, Philip Cofer decided to commit to the Volunteers' basketball program early Tuesday afternoon.
Then the 6-foot-8 forward hit the winning buzzer-beating 3-point shot in a summer-league game with some of his Fayetteville (Ga.) Whitewater High School teammates.
A four-star recruit and the nation's No. 56 overall prospect according to ESPN, Cofer is the second pledge for Cuonzo Martin's 2014 recruiting class.
"Me and my mom had talked about it this morning," Cofer told the Times Free Press later Tuesday. "I know Coach Martin and [assistant coach Tracy] Webster, like my mom said, they've just got a good heart. I can't give up that, and most of my family went there.
"I know it feels like a family over there. That's how it looks on the court. Everybody's good and everybody acts like a family, and that's what I liked about Tennessee, really."
Philip's father, Michael, played football at Tennessee before a 10-year NFL career that began when Detroit drafted him in the third round in 1983.
Ranked as the 127th player nationally according to 247sports.com and 141st according to Rivals.com, the younger Cofer is a high-motor athlete who's active all over the floor and an aggressive rebounder. He received scholarship offers from other SEC programs including Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Auburn. Georgia Tech, Cincinnati and Xavier also extended offers.
Tennessee's coaches were enough to sway Cofer to the Vols.
"I really like the coaches," he said. "They're really great guys. That's all I really can say."
Jordan Cornish, the New Orleans swingman who committed to Tennessee last month, hinted on Twitter late Tuesday morning that the Vols would add another recruit.
It turned out to be Cofer, who said he met Cornish while the two were playing at a Nike summer league tournament. Cofer stayed in continuous contact with Martin and Webster, and Cornish recruited him "like another coach," Cofer said.
"They've been going hard at it," he continued. "Coach Martin was talking to [Cornish] about recruiting me. He talked me into it."
Contact Patrick Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...
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