Huge DE looking at Vols

One of America's biggest and best defensive end prospects could be a Vol commitment by the time Tennessee opens the 2004 football season.

Doug Worthington is a 6-7, 257-pound junior from Athol Springs High of Saint Francis, N.Y. He has 4.7 speed and 13 scholarship offers to date. He also has a September target date for choosing a college.

''I'll narrow it down by the end of summer and I'd kind of like to commit by the start of the school year,'' Worthington told Allen Wallace of TheInsiders.com. ''I'd like to have it out of the way so I can focus on school and training.''

Worthington reportedly favors Penn State slightly over Tennessee, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Virginia. All have offered.

One factor working in favor of Carolina is former Tar Heel Julius Peppers.

''I love Julius Peppers,'' Worthington said. ''He's my idol.''

Worthington grew up liking Michigan but the Wolverines have not yet offered a scholarship.

''I used to watch them because of their helmets,'' he said. ''I like them a lot, too, and hopefully they'll offer.''

Worthington plans to attend camps at Virginia Tech and Tennessee.

''All of these are spectacular offers and I wasn't even expecting them,'' he said. ''I'm really going to look at everybody. I really want to go to a school with a great tradition and where the defensive ends play most of the game. I like coaches that are aggressive and aren't afraid to try new things.

''Tradition is really important because teams like that have big goals and aren't happy with a 6-4 season. I want a team that will go to bowl games and win consistently. That's what I like about Tennessee. They are a big-time program. It's historic and the stadium is huge. They have coaches that could propel you to the next level. I also heard it's an awesome campus. I was surprised they even knew who I was.''

Doug Worthington, Sr., may be a key factor in his son's college choice.

''My dad wants me to go south and experience something new,'' Doug said. ''My mom likes Penn State because of the academics and I like that, too. I also like the coaches at Penn State. They seem real open and honest and remind me of my high school coaches.''

Worthington registered 72 tackles and seven sacks as a junior. He benches 320 pounds and squats 400.

''I get after the quarterback fast and I'm real strong,'' he said. ''I hustle well and run after the ball well. I'll hawk it down wherever it is. I could play all day.''


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