Vols chasing top tackle

Tennessee's shot at the nation's top-rated junior defensive tackle just became a little more of a longshot.

Ekom Udofia, a 6-1, 290-pounder with 4.8 speed from Chaparral High of Scottsdale, Ariz., seems enthralled with Southern Cal, especially now that the Trojans have come through with a scholarship offer.

Udofia got an offer from Stanford more than a year ago. Tennessee, Miami, Arizona, Arizona State and San Diego State have offered in recent months. Georgia and Nebraska offered in the past week. When USC offered on Thursday, however, the player's head clearly was turned.

''Getting this offer for me is huge,'' Udofia told Mike Eubanks of TheBootleg.com. ''It is a school I've always had at the top of my lists, and for them to put enough value in me to offer is awesome.

''USC is definitely a school I want to visit officially,'' Udofia continued. ''Hopefully, I'll be able to take some unofficial visits out there, too, to see the campus and some practices.''

Nebraska and Georgia also are in the hunt.

''They're in the top group,'' Udofia said. ''They're bigtime schools I have to consider.''

Ultimately, though, Miami looms as the program with the best chance to wrest Udofia from Southern Cal.

''I know USC and Miami will get official visits,'' he said, ''so you could say they are my top two right now.''

Since the recruiting pressure on the burly tackle will be intense, he is already making plans to deal with the madness.

''My coach has suggested that I start to narrow my list to the schools I'm really interested in -- maybe 10 or 15 schools -- sometime in late May,'' Udofia said. ''That way it won't get too hectic, and it will leave me time for school.''

Udofia is hoping to make an unofficial visit to Southern Cal on April 22 and 23, then attend Stanford's spring game on April 24.

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