Orlando Evans WR Dominic Walker and Sanford Seminole ATH Ronnie Moore were excited Thursday night about their weekend plans to visit the University of Cincinnati on an official recruiting trip.
This morning, everything changed. Bearcats head coach Butch Jones, whose named had surfaced for more than a half dozen college football coaching vacancies recently, has been hired away from UC to take over for the fired Derek Dooley at Tennessee.
Walker and Moore found out early Friday morning from Cincinnati cornerbacks coach and Florida regional recruiter Shannon Morrison that their flights had been canceled, leaving Moore with a bit of disappointment. Walker had taken an unofficial visit to UC earlier this year.
"I little bit," Moore said when asked how disappointed he was. "I'm not all that worried about it because I think I'll be all right. ... just have to find out who the new coach is.
"But I just really wanted to go. I've never been there before and I was looking forward to it."
For Moore, who was named Central Florida's Offensive Player of the Year at the Orlando Touchdown Club's annual banquet on Monday night, the Bearcats remain his best NCAA FBS scholarship offer. He also has offers from Bowling Green and FCS schools Georgia Southern and Tennessee-Chattanooga, but he was very close to committing to Cincinnati.
As for Walker, who appears to be all but signed and delivered to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, he was just hoping to learn a little more about the program that he had rated No. 2 on his list. Walker has several FBS offers and the canceled flight was not quite as disappointing for him. He's familiar with the Cincinnati program.
Walker, who decommitted from Vanderbilt in October, said the situation may now solidify his thoughts on Nebraska.
There also remains the possibility for both players that Tennessee could come into the picture, especially if Morrison were to follow Jones to Knoxville.
"That would be even better for me," Moore said. "Coach Morrison said he didn't really know what was going on right now, but you never know. Coach Jones had called me up personally a couple of times so I have talked to him, but I never met him in person."
Jones had also interviewed for the Purdue job, for which former Kent State coach Darrell Hazel was hired this week, and for the Colorado opening. The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Jones had accepted the head coaching position at Colorado, but Jones shot down those claims.
He becomes the Vols' third coach in a tumultuous four-year period since former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer was fired in 2008. Lane Kiffen spent one season at the helm before bolting for USC and Derek Dooley was fired this year after his third season.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.
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