UT's a longshot for hot shot

Tennessee faces long odds in its quest to land one of America's most productive running backs.

Dion Foster is a 5-8, 190-pounder from Richards High School of Oak Lawn, Ill. He used his 4.4 speed to produce 1909 yards and 32 touchdowns as a sophomre, then tacked on 1558 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior last fall. He already has scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue, with Iowa, Tennessee and Michigan also in the hunt. Unfortunately for the Vols, proximity is working against them.

''My parents want me to stay close, and I'd like to stay within eight hours driving,'' Foster told Allen Wallace of TheInsiders.com. ''Illinois is only about two and a half hours away. I really like their offense because they run the ball a lot.''

Early indications are that Foster will sign with one of the Big Ten schools.

''I like the offense at Wisconsin, too, and I think the coaches are great,'' he said. ''They are great guys and know what they are doing.''

He also is fond of Iowa, the college former prep teammate Mike Jones attends.

''He loves it,'' Foster said. ''He said that most people think it's just corn fields, but that's not how it is. He says the coaches are the best and that they are real honest.''

Despite his lack of height, Foster has a knack for finding openings and reading his blocks.

''I look for the holes and I see the field well,'' he said. ''I have good vision and I'm a power runner. I want to improve my footwork and have better cuts and jukes and I want to gain some weight.''

Foster already attended Junior Days at Illinois and Wisconsin. He plans to attend the Badgers' spring game this Saturday.

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