UT eyes dominating DT

Tennessee learned the hard way last fall that it's hard to play defense without a couple of hardnosed run-stoppers at the tackle positions. That's why the Vols reportedly have offered a scholarship to a talented junior from out west.

His name is Ekom Udofia, and he's a 6-2, 290-pounder from Chaparral High of Scottsdale, Ariz. He lost a chance to make a national splash when he pulled a hamstring at the U.S. Army All-American Combine six weeks ago but that hasn't cooled Tennessee's interest in him. Last Thursday they let him know he's near the top of their 2005 shopping list.

''I just got this long letter from Tennessee,'' he told Mike Eubanks of TheBootleg.com. ''They wrote about how I had had a great career so far - how I'm what they need. Then they wrote that they'd like to offer a full-ride scholarship.''

The Vols' keen interest has established them as one of the early favorites for Udofia's services.

''I'd have to say my top three right now are probably USC, Michigan and Tennessee,'' he said. ''I just look at this (scholarship offer) and take it as an honor for a school as big-time as Tennessee to see so much potential and future success in me.''

Udofia said he also lists Stanford, Miami (FL), Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas as contenders for his commitment.

A first-team all-state pick last fall, he recorded 72 tackles, 12 sacks and 37 tackles for loss for the Firebirds. He also forced three fumbles and recovered three.

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