Snapshot: Chris Scott

Chris Scott (right) and Chris Kemoeatu (AP Photo)

Steelers fifth-round pick Chris Scott tells SCI.net's Dale Lolley that he was surprised by the welcoming attitude displayed by the veterans this spring.

When Chris Scott made his decision to attend the University of Tennessee, it was a tough choice for the heavily recruited Georgia native.

But after spending five years with the Volunteers, Scott is sure he made the correct decision, even if it did cause some people back home in Georgia to think him a traitor.

"Some thought of it like that," said Scott. "But I had to make a decision to go where I felt comfortable. Tennessee was where I felt comfortable."

Scott has already found a similar comfort level with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who selected him in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

With two months worth of workouts with the Steelers now under his belt, the 6-6, 318-pound offensive tackle feels like he landed in the perfect situation.

"Everybody has good things to say about this organization and how they go about things," Scott said. "I heard some things from the outside that told me this would be a good fit for me. Being around it now, I see that they're welcoming the rookies as if they've been here for a long time. It's not too bad compared to other places and what you hear. I think I fit perfectly in here and that I came to the right environment."

The Steelers have big plans for Scott. A three-year starter at Tennessee with 39 consecutive starts to close out his career, Scott broke into the Volunteers' lineup at right guard before eventually moving to left tackle. The Steelers worked him primarily at left tackle during their recently completed OTAs, but he also saw time at guard as well.

In 2007, he was part of an offensive line that allowed an NCAA-low four sacks. Also part of that line was Ramon Foster, who earned a spot on the Steelers' roster last season as an undrafted rookie.

The Steelers learned a lot about Scott from talking to Foster prior to the draft.

"He's a physical player. We feel he's got some position flexibility; we feel he's the type that could play guard for us as well, which is real important," said Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler. "And he played at a high level of competition each week in the SEC and did a nice job versus those guys. He's got great size, about 320 and we feel he can commit and compete."

The commitment he made to get his weight down after getting as heavy as 345 pounds at Tennessee also helped. But what about that decision for a Georgia boy to decide to go to Tennessee?

Scott, who was a high school All-American, said he sat down with his father when it came time to make his decision about college. Harold Scott, who had coached his son in youth football, gave him sound advice.

"He coached me when I was growing up and taught me a lot of things. He taught me things I still use today," Chris Scott said. "He's very knowledgeable and he helped me keep things in perspective."

That proved to be important as the Volunteers went through a big coaching change following Scott's redshirt junior season, going from Phil Fulmer's staff to the one brought in by former NFL head coach Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin brought with him an NFL mentality along with several former NFL assistant coaches.

"At times it was difficult because you build relationships with some of the coaches," Scott said. "Over time, when they change coaches, you learn you have to deal with it. That's the nature of the business, the nature of the game. People find different things that they want to pursue and they pursue it. I tried to look at it as a positive thing because when coach Kifflin came in, he brought some NFL coaches and an NFL environment with him. I really feel I'm prepared for the NFL because of what coach Kifflin and his staff did."

It also gave him an early preview of what life in the NFL can be like, showing him the business side of football when Kiffin left Tennessee at the end of the season for USC.

"I kind of knew the business side of it because my dad had prepped me on it," Scott said. "But even so, when it all went down, it was kind of a shocker. After talking to my father, he put it back in perspective. He told me, ‘This is something that I talked to you about when we went into this whole process.' I was shocked for a little while and then I started moving on with what I had to do."

And that was to get himself a job in the NFL.

"This is something I've always wanted to do," said Scott. "Now, I'm getting my opportunity. The versatility I showed at Tennessee, that's nothing but positive, I think. I've got some advantages having played so many different positions at Tennessee. I really believe that will help me here, the versatility I've shown."

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