Grand larceny

Tennessee's football program cherry-picked one of the elite prospects out of Michigan a year ago, and the Vols appear intent on doing so again.

Dennis Norfleet, a 4-star running back from King High School in Detroit, is among approximately two dozen high-profile prospects from the Motor City area who will be attending the Vols' camp on Monday, then participating in Alabama's camp Tuesday in Tuscaloosa.

Norfleet, a 5-7, 170-pounder who also excels as a receiver and return specialist, was named Most Valuable Player at last month's IMG Madden Football Academy 7 on 7 tournament in Bradenton, Fla., after leading Detroit-based Max Exposure to the team title.

Allen Trieu, Midwest Regional Manager for Scout.com, rates Norfleet the No. 6 prospect in Michigan, noting: "He's proving all those who thought he was too small wrong. He's a solidly built kid who has excellent hands and explosiveness. He's also super confident and the kind of kid that gets his teammates going. Someone is going to get a great player here."

Tennessee already plucked one of Michigan's premier prospects for its 2011 signing class, signing electrifying 4-star receiver DeAnthony Arnett out of Saginaw last February. Arnett is enrolled in summer school on The Hill and bulking up in anticipation of playing a key role as a true freshman this fall.

"He told me he's put on 11 pounds already," Ralph Arnett, DeAnthony's older brother, told InsideTennessee by phone from Saginaw. "He's up to 171 pounds, up from 160 when he got there."

Having seen Norfleet in action, Ralph Arnett believes that the diminutive dynamo has enough size to be a big-time player at the collegiate level.

"He's a lot bigger than people think," Arnett said. "He's legit. He's no 4.3 or 4.4 forty guy but he plays in one of the toughest leagues in Michigan and he gets it done."

Another outstanding prospect who will be among the 24 or so Detroit-area recruits visiting Knoxville this weekend is Ron Thompson, a 6-4, 235-pound tight end from Southfield High School. He is rated the ninth-best prospect in Michigan by Trieu, who offers this glowing recommendation:

"In terms of natural ability, there are few who can compete with Thompson in the state. He's a very natural receiver who can go up and get it and he can make things happen after the catch. We'd like to see him dedicate himself to the weight room more, but he's a great target and usually a mismatch for opponents."

Other than Norfleet and Thompson, Arnett said he isn't certain what other elite prospects will be among the two dozen Detroit-area recruits but added that, "I know the majority of the kids that are coming hold offers from other schools."


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