RECRUITING: Charles in charge

One of the South's biggest, and best, defensive tackles lists Tennessee among his top five college options.

Charles Deas is a 6-4, 326-pounder from Boyd Anderson High of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., who recorded 68 stops and 10 sacks a year ago. Scout.com rates him No. 7 nationally among defensive tackle prospects.

''I like Georgia, Nebraska, Auburn, Tennessee and LSU,'' he told Scout.com's Ryan Jordan. ''Georgia and Nebraska are going neck and neck right now. I like Georgia because of the way the players get extra time with academics and they help you a lot. I like Nebraska because all they worry about is academics and then football.''

Deas already has scholarship offers from UT, Pitt, Houston, Florida, Nebraska, Auburn, Florida State and Duke, among others.

Georgia clearly is the team to beat. Just back from the Bulldogs' senior camp, Deas told Jordan, ''I love it up there.... Coach Richt tole me he would love to have me, and I'm just waiting on them to send me an offer in the mail.''

Georgia's odds of landing the mammoth tackle grow even better if the Dawgs are willing to take two of his prep teammates, Kendrick Johnson and Bobby McGee.

''Were all just waiting to get our offers from Georgia right now,'' Deas said. ''I¹ve got mine and Kendrick already has his. We're just waiting on Bobby to get one, and then we may all go up to Georgia together. We were talking about it on the way home.''

Tennessee could use some reinforcements at defensive tackle. Jesse Mahelona is a senior, and fellow starter Justin Harrell's a junior. Top reserves Turk McBride and Tony McDaniel, whose Vol career is clouded by a disciplinary suspension, also are juniors.

Some observers project Deas to play offensive line in college. If so, that wouldn't lessen his value to the Vols, who lose Cody Douglas, Albert Toeaina and Richie Gandy following the 2005 season, then say goodbye to Arron Sears, Rob Smith and David Ligon following the '06 campaign.


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