Vols shopping for Shappley

One of the South's brightest offensive line prospects also ranks among the best. And Tennessee is in the running for him.

Larry Shappley is a 6-5, 280-pound junior from West Monroe (La.) High School. He runs a 5.2 in the 40-yard dash and bench presses 320 pounds. Academically, he carries a sparkling 3.7 grade-point average and a 25 on the ACT.

''I want to keep all of my options open," Shappley told Sonny Shipp of TheInsiders.com. ''Your heart is always with the hometown team but I'm not really leaning anywhere.''

Reportedly, the top schools on his list are LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Auburn, Tennessee, Tulane and South Carolina.

Shappley already made unofficial visits to LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss. Apparently, he saw enough on those visits to move those schools to the top of his list.

''My top three is LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss,'' he said. ''I already went to Alabama's spring game and I'm going to go to Ole Miss and LSU's too.''

In addition to being a dynamic blocker and a superior student, Shappley is a team leader.

''I enjoy playing the role of a leader,'' he said. ''I'm always trying to encourage people to do their best on the field.''

Whereas most high schoolers are a little weak technically, Shappley seems to be an exception to this rule. That's why he projects to be a left tackle in college, entrusted with protecting the quarterback's blind side.

''I have good technique, and that is a major part of being an offensive lineman,'' Shappley said. ''I'm also real good at pass protection. I have to be quick to protect my quarterback.''

Shappley plans to visit camps at LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss in the coming months.

With LSU coming off a national title and Tiger head coach Nick Saban known for strong offensive lines, Shappley shapes up as a tough ''get'' for the Vols. But it would be unwise to count out Vol head man Phillip Fulmer.

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