Preston Ruth is staying home.
The Bearden High School senior is choosing to head right up road to continue his running career. He's going to be a Tennessee Volunteer.
Here's why he decided to stay local and continue his career on Rocky Top.
What made Tennessee stand out in the recruiting process?
Being from Knoxville and having both my parents attend Tennessee, I have always been a Vols fan and when it came time to look at schools, UT was right at the top of my list. The campus atmosphere, the great passion that comes along with the university, specifically within its sports teams, and Knoxville itself are what really stood out to me the most.
What was ultimately the deciding factor in your decision?
My recruiting journey was a pretty, long and tough one so making a decision was not easy. However, it was a call from the associate head coach, Coach Geopfert, about a week before I committed that really sealed the deal for me. He called me up and told me why they wanted me to come to Tennessee and just painted a picture of what I could achieve and do there if I bought into the process early on. No other school really did that for me at all so that was the main deciding factor.
What impressed you on your visit?
Definitely the guys on the team. My host, Georde Goodwyn, another former, local high school runner, and the other UT runners really made me feel at home and didn't just tell me what I wanted to hear about being a student-athlete at Tennessee. I got a great snapshot of what it would actually be like to run there, so that was very helpful The team aspect was a huge swaying factor in my college decision so the fact that I was able to fit in with the guys well was definitely a plus.
How did you like the coaches?
The coaching staff as a whole has done a great job of transforming the Tennessee program and I got to witness that on my visit. Coach Foster and Coach Sullivan, specifically, from the time I stepped on campus just did a great job of welcoming me and my family and I was really impressed with their enthusiasm and passion for the sport.
What's your favorite part of your new school?
Probably all the opportunities that are going to open up for me, both athletically and academically. I believe the University of Tennessee will put me in the best position to succeed and I am very excited about that. Also, talking with my future teammates has been awesome. I went on a visit with a few of the other distance signees, but have talked and texted with a lot more, and just the energy I have seen from all the other commits, whether girls or guys, distance, sprints, etc. is very cool and I am looking forward to all of them being my teammates
Have you decided on a major?
I have declared Biomedical Engineering as my major and plan on possibly minoring in Business in hopes of doing something in the medical/engineering field where I can own a business.
What goals do you have for the track season?
This year the state of Tennessee is probably as competitive as it has been in a good little bit, so while that presents a challenge, it also excites me that I'll have great competition and be able to run fast. I want to go sub 1:55, 4:15, and sub 9:20; hopefully get All-State and contend for a state title. I have broken and am on the verge of breaking several school records, so I want to leave Bearden High School as the most decorated distance runner to ever come out of the school.
What other schools did you consider?
Aside from Tennessee, I was fortunate enough to talk to and receive offers from about a dozen schools. My top schools that I was considering were Tennessee, Alabama, and Lee University.