June 25th is D-Day for Crompton

The list of schools offering Jonathan Crompton football scholarships speaks more eloquently about this elite athlete's talent level than any adjectives a sports scribe could call upon.

Georgia, Miami, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina State and Virginia are a few of the high caliber colleges he is considering, but Tennessee is believed to be his favorite since the day he first visited the campus as a sophomore with his father. That's when UT's offensive coordinator Randy Sanders watched about five minutes of film from Crompton's 10th grade season at Erwin High School before turning off the VCR and essentially extending an offer. "If coach Fulmer was here I would offer you right now," Sanders is reported to have said.

Since that day, the Vols and Crompton have been closely connected in a courtship that goes over and beyond what is common. Crompton and his family have become very familiar with the landscape on the 90-minute trip between their home in Waynesville, N.C. and Knoxville.

That could be a lot for the other contenders to overcome but Crompton made an unofficial visit to Athens, Ga., in May and had coaches from Michigan and Miami visit his school last month. The Bulldogs made up a lot of ground in a hurry behind the combined efforts of head coach Mark Richt and quarterback coach Mike Bobo.

"Coach Richt and Coach Bobo were the difference," Crompton told The Insiders. "They really didn't talk much football until we got into the film room. We just talked about life in general."

As recently as two weeks ago, Crompton told The Insiders Don Callahan that his decision would likely come down to the SEC East rivals, which means it could tip the competitive balance over the next four years in what is perhaps the most fiercely fought division in all of college football.

"Tennessee and Georgia, pretty much 1-2," stated Crompton. "I don't know where I'm going to end up, but its going to be one of those two though. I just have to feel 100% before I make my final decision."

Whether he is closer to that decision today is unknown, but he has scheduled a press conference June 25 to announce it. That will clear the way for him to concentrate on his upcoming senior season at Tuscola High School which went 9-2 last year with Crompton running the show. He transferred to Tuscola after his sophomore season at Erwin.

Generally regarded as the one of the nation's top three signal callers in the Class of 2005, Crompton has also shown late interest in Miami. The Cane coaching staff has told Crompton he is the first QB they offered this year.

Certainly, Crompton has done nothing to diminish his status this spring. In a combine at his birthplace of Asheville, N.C., he ran a 4.79 time in the 40 and an impressive 4.31 time in the shuttle, offering tangible proof that he is more than a one-dimensional quarterback. He also checked in at a solid 6-foot-3, 207 pounds and displayed deft passing skills. Crompton will probably be invited to the Elite 11 camp in July which brings together the nation's top signal callers. He was one of three junior QBs invited to attend the 2003 Elite 11 camp.

Crompton was expected to attend a seven-on-seven camp at Tennessee this week with Tuscola teammates and take part in the UT's senior camp on June 19. That might bode well for Big Orange fans who are understandably apprehensive in light of a couple of high profile defections in recent years — Chris Simms in 1998 and Chris Leak in 2003.

Crompton's status could also be impacted by two incoming freshmen quarterbacks — Brent Schaeffer and Eric Ainge — who will get a chance to compete for the starting job this fall. If either rookie becomes the starter and flourishes Crompton might reconsider a decision to sign with Tennessee. However there are plenty of solid contenders at every college he is considering and he's clearly not afraid of competition. Plus if the above scenario was to eventuate it's just as likely that one of the freshmen would transfer.

There's no simple solution for this situation, but that's the nature of pursuing the best.

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