Vols like wrestler/gridder

Tennessee's football program has enjoyed great success with guys who wrestled in high school -- Scott Wells, Fred Weary, Shazzon Bradley and Will Bartholomew to name a few. Now the Vols are chasing another matman with gridiron potential.

His name is Thomas Austin, and he's a junior offensive line prospect from Camden, S.C.

''He's 6-4, about 265 pounds right now,'' Camden head coach Jimmy Neal told Miller Safrit of TheInsiders.com. ''He's got good hips, good speed, can bend his knees, and he is a good wrestler. We'll see just how good he is in this playoff coming up.''

Once Austin finishes wrestling in the state playoffs, he can begin wrestling with his college decision. From all appearances, he'll have plenty of options to consider.

''Just about everybody in the SEC and ACC is looking at him,'' Neal said. ''He's getting mail from a bunch of people around this area. He has interest from teams like Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest and, of course, Clemson and South Carolina.

''I don't know what teams have really offered him. Some come in here and write on our board 'We have offered Thomas Austin,' but I don't know if those are real or not, and I don't want to make those schools look bad or Thomas look bad if the offer is not real.''

Tennessee's staff is looking for blockers since four senior O-linemen who contributed greatly in 2003 -- Wells, Anthony Herrera, Sean Young, Chavis Smith -- will not be back next fall.


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