Tennessee’s 2013 recruiting class suffered its first casualty Tuesday since the hiring of new coach Butch Jones.
Three-star senior linebacker Dominic Zanca of Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Fla., decommitted from Tennessee on Tuesday and committed to Duke.
Three-star linebacker Dominic Zanca of Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Fla., told govols247 on Tuesday that he has decommitted from the Vols and committed to Duke in the aftermath of Tennessee’s recent coaching change.
Zanca, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 708 overall prospect in the 247Composite for the 2013 class, said he informed Jones of his decision during a brief phone conversation Tuesday, just four days after Jones left Cincinnati and was introduced as former Vols coach Derek Dooley’s replacement.
“Just I had to go where I ultimately felt best at and I really enjoyed duke,” Zanca said via text message, “and all the (Tennessee) staff getting let go made me rethink as well.”
The 6-foot-2, 242-pound Zanca’s decision to part ways with the Vols leaves them with 17 known commitments for the 2013 class. He’s the first player to decommit from Tennessee since Dooley’s firing more than three weeks ago.
Top247 safety Kameron Miles of West Mesquite (Texas) High School also decommitted from the Vols on Nov. 14 — just four days before Dooley was fired — and switched his commitment to Texas A&M the same day after picking up an offer from the home-state Aggies just nine days earlier.
Zanca took an official visit to Duke over the weekend. He already had been on official visits to Tennessee and Purdue last month just before Dooley and former Purdue coach Danny Hope were fired.
He said he’s still planning to be an early enrollee, and he’s scheduled to arrive on campus in Durham, N.C., next month.
Zanca said his decision to go to Duke was “pretty official” as of Tuesday evening.
Duke was one of the first teams to express interest in Zanca, along with Tennessee, Missouri and Florida International. But the Vols gave him his first scholarship offer earlier this year, and he committed to Tennessee on April 20 while he was on campus for the first time.
The Blue Devils and other teams had backed off Zanca following his commitment to the Vols, and he had stood by his commitment to Tennessee following Dooley’s firing while also continuing to explore other options by visiting Purdue and Duke.
He had been recruited for Tennessee by Darin Hinshaw, who served as the Vols’ wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator this year under Dooley.
Running backs coach Jay Graham is the only member of Dooley’s staff who has been retained by Jones to this point.
Zanca was being recruited by Tennessee to play inside linebacker in former defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri’s 3-4 defense. Jones said last week during his introductory press conference that the Vols will “go back to a four-man front” on defense next season.