Future Vols 'stoked' for UAAA game

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It's been an amazing experience for a trio of future Tennessee Volunteers down in central Florida this week as Alton Howard, Justin Meredith and Dalton Santos have gone through workouts at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex leading up to tonight's Under Armour All-American game.

Kickoff is scheduled for taking place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., at 7:30 p.m. EST (TV:ESPN).

Sadly for the future Vol tight end Meredith, it sounds as though a hamstring injury will prevent the South Carolina native from playing many snaps, if any.

"It hurts," Meredith said of the leg injury. "I did special teams stuff. I didn't run any routes or anything so I could nurse it as much as possible."

Should he not be able to suit up, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound prospect still suggests he's enjoyed the time getting to know fellow recruits.

"It will be heartbreaking, but it's just one game. It's an all-star game. I'm glad I'm here, but at the same time, I'll move on and be alright," he said.

Team Blur, led by head coach Herm Edwards, has worked on several ways of getting Howard the football.

Howard said he expects to touch the football 15-20 times.

"Every two plays I'll be on the slot and every two plays on at running back," he said. "They even have me throwing a little bit with a trickery play at running back and kick return. So, they have a lot of plays for me."

In light of Tennessee losing defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon to Washington back on Monday, some teams have come hard after Tennessee commitments, including Howard and Santos.

"At Tennessee I feel like I'm at home, but they're having dilemmas and whatnot that I kind of want to figure out," Howard said. "Hopefully, it won't affect me if I end up going there and things turn out bad. There were rumors going on Friday about Dooley and whatnot. You can't believe all rumors."

The Orlando native maintains that he is pledged to UT.

"I am still committed to Tennessee; they're still my No. 1. I'm just going to sit down, give Dooley a call and try to figure out what's going on," said Howard, who plans on enrolling in May.

A fellow Floridian who has worked out with Howard this week is tight end Sean Price.

"He's a great dude," Blur teammate Price said of Howard. "Me and him don't talk much but watching him at practice, he's very elusive, he's got great hands, great routes and he learns the playbook very fast to play two positions."

The Citra, Fla., native was being heavily recruited at one point by Tennessee before the Vols got Meredith in the fold. Price said he will take official visits to South Florida (Jan. 13), Oklahoma (Jan. 20) and Arkansas (Jan. 27).

Middle linebacker Santos has fit in quite well with his Team Highlight teammates.

"It's gone real well," Santos said. "It's been a great experience for me, and I've really enjoyed it.

"I'm making all the calls, calling the defense, lining everybody up. I'm the quarterback of the defense."

This week has been quite a treat for the Van, Texas, native as former first-round pick and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Robert Jones has been among those teaching him the intricacies of the position.

"It's been good to hang around with that guy and talk to him a little bit," Santos said of Jones.

Five-star defensive end Jordan Jenkins is a teammate of Santos and the two knew each other for the recruiting scene already. The top recruit in Georgia spoke highly of Santos.

"Dalton's full of energy and he goes 1000 percent every snap and every down," Jenkins said. "He's a great guy to be around. I actually met him when I took my official visit to Tennessee. We sat there and talked about all the steaks we had at Tennessee. I know I'm not going there, but it's a great place to be. I'm glad Dalton's going there. He's going to fit right in with all the players. He's a great playmaker, and I hope he does good at Tennessee."

Kickoff can't get here soon enough for each of these players, including the four-star Santos.

"I'm stoked right now, stoked," Santos said. "I'm ready for Thursday to come along. I might be up all night just ready for this thing. Yeah, I'm ready for it, for sure."

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