Vols Land JUCO DE

Forget the west coast offense — and most Big Orange fans are trying to do just that — Tennessee appears to be making a switch to the west coast defense with a commitment from College of the Canyons defensive lineman Jonathan Hollins, who joins City College of San Francisco D-tackle Edwin Herbert in UT's Class of 2009.

Originally out of Redemptorist High School in Baton Rouge, La., Hollins committed to Texas Tech before grades forced him to take the JUCO route to football stardom. As a 6-foot-4, 275-pound freshman last season Hollins played both defensive end and tackle recording 31 tackles with eight sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in just nines games. He missed two contests with a broken toe but still made First Team All-Western States Conference.

He recommitted to Texas Tech last April, however, about a month ago stated his intent to look around and on Monday the four-star talent pledged his services to Tennessee. Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida, UCLA, LSU, Arizona and Kansas State are among the long list of other schools seeking Hollins.

A player much in the mode of a Demetrin Veal, who came from the California Junior College ranks to play two seasons for Tennessee (2001-2002) at both tackle and defensive end. His flexibility, size and technique allowed him to make an early contribution on what has to be ranked as one of the Vols best defensive line ever with John Henderson, Albert Haynesworth, Will Overstreet and Bernard Jackson. In 2002 Veal became a full-time starter at defensive end playing along side Rashad Moore and Aubrayo Franklin, all three went on to play in the NFL.

Jonathan Hollins reportedly runs a 4.80 time in the 40 and has a 30-inch vertical. He led Redemptorist to the 2005 state championship in a victory over Notre Dame of Crowley, 13-7. He finished his stellar senior season with 99 tackles (43 solo), six sacks, 14 tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, seven blocked passes, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

In addition to Texas Tech which went to wire with Michigan State for the agile athlete, Hollins was recruited by Southern Miss, Ole Miss, Houston, Memphis, Central Florida and Louisiana Tech among others. However he narrowly missed making his ACT score. From there he went to Hargrave Military Academy where he came to Tennessee's attention. Financial issues later prompted a move from Hargrave to College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif.

Louisiana to Texas to Virginia to California is a long way to get to Tennessee but it may also go a long way toward making the Vols defensive line more versatile as well as formidable next fall. By sliding Hollins to the inside UT could put a fast front on the field in passing situations to better pressure the passer.

There's a good chance he'll be joined in next season's D-line rotation by Edwin Herbert, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound tackle, who is also rated four stars by Scout.com. Hebert is from Fairfield, Calif., and played at Armijo High School before signing with City College of San Francisco. Herbert chose UT over Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin.

In keeping with the California JC D-linemen theme, the Vols are also in serious pursuit of Akeem Hicks, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound nose tackle of Sacramento Junior College. As a freshman he had 50 tackles with four sacks, one interception and a fumble recovery he returned for a 30-yard touchdown. He has also been offered by Arizona, Kansas State, LSU, Oregon, South Florida and Washington State.

If Phillip Fulmer and Co. can persuade Hicks he's most needed in east Tennessee, the west coast defense might score more points next fall than UT's west coast offense has this fall.

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