As if a switch had been thrown, the tension eased. The boy began to respond agreeably to injunctions and to ask questions. He asked if it were true that the pros "find you no matter where you play." "Of course," Majors said, "and do you think they'd pass up a school like Tennessee?"
Sensing the change, Majors wound down his argument. "We want you at Tennessee, Donnie, and we're counting on you. But I'll tell you one last thing. Once you get there, don't think you won't have problems. You'll have 'em. I did; everybody does. When you do, come see me. My office is always open. If it's something pressing, and I'm in a meeting, they'll call me out."
Donnie Evans remained noncommittal through the goodbys. Majors told him Robbie Franklin would be over in the morning for the signing. The boy said he would "take the night to think about it." An Ohio State coach was supposed to come, too, he said.
Robbie Franklin seemed to breathe easier as he drove Majors back to Bowling Green. "I think you turned him around, coach," he said.
"Maybe. He seemed tuned out at the start."
"He doesn't think he's big enough."
Majors laughed. "Yeah, a kid 6'4", 235, sees a kid 6'6", 250 as a 'monster.' Donnie's plenty big enough."
"You like him?"
"Yes, I do. I think he may be a little wary of the competition, but, hell, so was I. I was petrified. He'll be fine once he gets to Tennessee. Don't lose him, now."
It was dark when the little Piper landed in Knoxville. Majors said he had eaten exactly two "suppers" with his family since they had moved into their new house—a 40-year-old colonial on 4� acres in suburban Topside—and now he had missed another.