RECRUITING: Blue-chip rusher lists UT

One of the country's premier running backs is taking a look at Tennessee, and he likes what he sees.

Stafon Johnson is a 6-0, 200-pounder from Dorsey High of Los Angeles who is rated No. 3 nationally among running back prospects by He ran for 1,879 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago. Also a standout safety, he registered 25 stops and three interceptions last fall.

''It's narrowed down to Florida, Miami, USC, Cal, Michigan, Tennessee, and Oklahoma," Johnson told's Bob Redman. ''About half are recruiting me for both positions and the other half are just recruiting me at running back.''

The Vols, he says, are recruiting him exclusively as an offensive player.

''Tennessee is recruiting me as a running back,'' he told Redman. ''I have a good chance of starting right off the bat. If I don't start I could come in real soon and get some playing time. I am not thrilled about redshirting anywhere. I am not planning to do that when I go to college.''

The Vols' top running back, Gerald Riggs, will be a senior this fall. The only other back on the UT roster who has touched the ball in a college game is former walk-on David Yancey. This situation surely looks enticing to a young man such as Stafon Johnson who wants to get his feet wet early.

Also working in the Vols' favor is the fact Tennessee has sent a surprising number of successful tailbacks to the National Football League in recent years. These include Charlie Garner Little Man Stewart, Shawn Bryson, Jamal Lewis and Travis Henry.

As Johnson noted: ''They have had running backs come out of the league very successful.''

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