Will Bledsoe bleed orange?

Can Steve Caldwell do it again?<p> Tennessee's defensive ends coach has lured some quality prospects out of Arkansas in recent years -- Cedric Houston, Greg Jones, Bret Smith and Roshaun Fellows -- and now he's trying to add a big-time defensive tackle to the list.

It won't be easy getting Fred Bledsoe. Then again, pulling kids out of Arkansas never is.

For one thing, Bledsoe attends Little Rock Central, the alma mater of University of Arkansas head man Houston Nutt.

In addition, the pressure on Arkansas natives to stay in-state is huge. That's why Ced Houston reneged three years ago, made a second commitment to the homestate Razorbacks, then honored his original commitment to UT. Bret Smith also felt the pressure, going into virtual seclusion last February before finally casting his lot with the Vols on Signing Day.

No doubt Bledsoe feels the pressure to stay at home, too. That may explain why he returned from last weekend's visit to Fayetteville singing the Razorbacks' praises.

''Great, fantastic,'' he told GoPokes.com when asked about his official visit. ''I liked everybody. It was just a joyful experience. They had Keith Jackson Jr., and Dedrick Poole (Little Rock Central grad) show me around. We went to the basketball game and saw Arkansas upset Vandy. I enjoyed the coaches, the other players, the campus, everything.''

Still, he didn't pull the trigger.

''No, I didn't commit,'' he said.

There may be more good news for Tennessee. Like Bret Smith a year ago, Bledsoe has decided to announce his college choice on Signing Day. If he were a lock for Arkansas, he probably would go public for the Razorbacks immediately and bask in the adulation that comes with picking the homestate school. Instead, Bledsoe -- who also is considering Oklahoma State -- will announce his college choice in a 4 p.m. ceremony planned in the Little Rock Central gymnasium on Feb. 4.

First, he will welcome the head coaches from his three favorites -- Nutt, Phillip Fulmer and OSU's Les Miles -- into the home this week.

Caldwell got Tennessee's foot in the door. Can Fulmer close the deal?


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