RECRUITING: UT woos Cal lineman

One of California's top offensive linemen is looking to leave the state ... and Tennessee recruiters are eager to offer him that opportunity.

Cleveland Jones, a 6-4, 300-pounder from Dorsey High of Los Angeles, recently told Barry Bolton of Cougfan.com: ''Mainly, I'm looking for a school outside of California.''

That type of mindset enabled Tennessee to establish a California pipeline in recent years -- signing such notables as Onterrio Smith and Donte' Stallworth (Sacramento), Judd Granzow (Granada Hills), Casey Clausen (Northridge), Demetrin Veal (Paramount), Kevin Burnett (Carson), Kevin Simon (Walnut Creek), Gibril Wilson (San Jose), Rick Clausen (Thousand Oaks), Albert Toeaina (Antioch) and Arian Foster (San Diego)

Although Jones is considering the nearby Southern Cal Trojans, most of the schools he likes are out-of-state universities -- Washington State, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Arizona State and Tennessee. Reportedly, the Vols are recruiting him as vigorously as anyone.

Jones seems to favor Arizona and Washington State at present. He attended Arizona's lineman camp and told Bolton he ''liked the whole vibe down there.'' Washington State's lure is that Jones has family living in-state and considers head coach Bill Doba ''a cool dude.''

Jones, who registered 28 pancake blocks as a junior, has a timetable for making his public commitment.

''I want to make it by my playoffs,'' he told Bolton. ''I'd like to make it by then, anyway. Because by then, I'll probably have all the offers I'm going to get.''

Offensive line will be a strong recruiting priority for Tennessee this year. The Vols say goodbye to three projected starting O-linemen following the 2005 season -- Toeaina, Cody Douglas and Richie Gandy. The other two starters, Arron Sears and Rob Smith, are due to depart following the 2006 season.

Clearly, the Vols need to locate some reinforcements, even if they have to go to California to find them.


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