Allen picks Vols' tradition over Georgia

Top recruit <b>Jason Allen</b> made a verbal commitment to the Vols over Georgia and LSU.

Georgia coach Mark Richt has emphasized the importance of stability and continuity on his coaching staff in recent weeks, and he says all his assistants will be back unless they have a better opportunity elsewhere.

Richt's plans for stability may not have been enough to overcome Georgia's recent history of instability when it came time for top recruit Jason Allen of Muscle Shoals, Ala., to announce his decision last Saturday.

Choosing Tennessee on Fox Sports South Net's Countdown to Signing Day show that was first broadcast Saturday morning, Allen said "The tradition at Tennessee is great.''

Allen, a cornerback and running back who also may have an opportunity at wide receiver, chose the Vols over Georgia and Louisiana State.

About Georgia, Allen said: "I had to overlook a bunch of things. The coaching staff could be here one day and gone the next.''

That was an apparent reference to Georgia's much-criticized decision to fire Jim Donnan last year even though Donnan averaged eight wins in his five seasons and won bowl games his last four seasons.

Also, Allen is projected by many to eventually become a full-time cornerback, and Brian VanGorder is Georgia's fourth defensive coordinator in four years.

The loss of Allen to the Vols was one of two setbacks in the week for Georgia, which also saw running back Ibriham Halsey of Elizabeth, N.J., change his verbal commitment from Georgia to Illinois.

However, this week Georgia gained the commitment of another highly recruited running back, Reshard Dudley (5-10, 210) of Marianna, Fla. Dudley joins Michael Cooper (6-0, 215) of Screven County as running backs with good combinations of size and speed to commit to Georgia.

Meanwhile, this week Georgia welcomed four early enrollees to bowl practice.

Because they qualified for early enrollment, the four will count toward Georgia's 2001 signees, leaving the school room to sign 25 more players in February.

Defensive tackle Darrius Swain and defensive end Preston Pannell were the first of the four to join practice. Quarterback Joe Tereskinski III, recovering from a shoulder injury that is not as serious as first feared, and offensive lineman Josh Brock also joined the team in time for the trip to the Music City Bowl.

"I think I lost about 15 pounds the first two days,'' Swain said.

"In high school you can get away with a lot of things like playing high (on blocks). It's tough, but I'm getting used to it.''

Tereshinski is regarded by many as the top quarterback in the state, but he will be competing against rising sophomore David Greene in 2002, along with redshirt freshman D.J. Shockley and senior Cory Phillips.

"I figure I'm going to get some opportunities,'' Tereshinski said. "It's going to be a challenge, but it's going to be fun.''

Pannell, from Cordele, Ga., said he chose Georgia over Auburn and Alabama.

"Growing up I always wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog,'' said Pannell (6-7, 240), who stands out due to his unusual height.

Charles Odum can be reached at

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