HighSchoolOT On The Trail

Garner's Matthew Butler verbally commits to Tennessee

Posted December 21, 2016
Updated December 22, 2016

— Garner senior defensive lineman Matthew Butler announced Wednesday afternoon at South Garner High School that the will continue his education and football career at the University of Tennessee.

“I felt like it was the right decision," Butler said. "Talking with my family and mentors, and people that I respect and appreciate – they’ve all pointed me in the right direction. It’s always been Tennessee ever since I stepped on campus, honestly.”

Butler chose the Volunteers over Arkansas, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, N.C. State, Penn State, UNC-Chapel Hill, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.

Butler visited five schools during the recruiting process but said his strong feelings toward Tennessee made him look for reasons not to join the Volunteers while touring other campuses.

“I was there to find some reason not to go to Tennessee, and I could not find a reason," Butler said. "It was a long process, but I feel like I made the right decision.”

Butler, who's dream is to play on Sundays, said he believes head coach Butch Jones' philosophy, and playing against top talent in the Southeastern Conference, will best prepare him to achieve his goals.

"Coach Jones says, and I feel the same way, that I have an opportunity to come in, show my potential and get some time on the field if I do what I'm supposed to do," he said. "That's just a given for me. Whenever someone tells me what to do at this point in my life, I've learned that what they're telling me what I need to do, I will do.

"I asked Coach Jones what the measure of success was, an he said putting forth effort in everything that you do, owning up to what you do, and giving your all. If I do that, than I'll be a successful guy at Tennessee."

Butler added that his ability to create havoc in backfield and his mental understanding of the defensive side of the ball will go hand-in-hand with Tennessee's scheme.

"I feel like I can stop the run and rush the passer; their assets of defensive ends and defensive tackles can do that," Butler said. "The scheme needs players like me, players that are focuses and know what's going on. They're bringing in other players like that, and just feel like they're building a defense can be an SEC championship type of defense."

The standout senior tallied 96 tackles – 44 for loss – 26 sacks and three passes defended in his final year as a Garner Trojan, according to MaxPreps.

Butler started on both the offensive and defensive line for the Trojans and occasionally lined up at tight end for Garner.

In his senior season, Butler helped guide the Trojans to a 12-2 record and berth in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4AA east regional semifinals.

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  • gt_football Dec 21, 2016

    Tennessee just picked up a great young man to play football. Congrats to Matt. Loved watching you play for Garner.