RECRUITING: Vols offer D-tackle

One of the most sought-after defensive tackles in the South has Tennessee on his list of possible college destinations.

Chaz Washington is a 6-3, 288-pounder from Destrehan (La.) High School. He covers 40 yards in 5.2 seconds and showcased enough quickness to register 60 tackles last fall, including six sacks.

A member of's South Hot 100, he already has more than two dozen scholarship offers, including one from the Vols.

''Nebraska, Miami, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, and Tennessee are just a few schools that have offered,'' Washington told Scott Kennedy of ''I'm up to 26 total right now.''

The Oklahoma Sooners lead a rabid pack of suitors at present.

''They really want me bad,'' Washington said. ''After Oklahoma, I like Miami, Ole Miss, Nebraska and Tennessee.''

Each school, he suggests, has an attraction all its own.

''Miami has a name that speaks for itself,'' he told Kennedy. ''I like Coach (Ed) Orgeron and the staff at Ole Miss. Nebraska has a great fan following. I love the campus and facilities at Tennessee.''

Washington visited summer camps at Ole Miss and LSU in recent weeks. He plans to attend Florida's camp July 21.

Tennessee's interest in Washington can be traced in part to an unsettled situation at defensive tackle. Senior starter Jesse Mahelona is down to his final year of eligibility. Justin Harrell, Turk McBride and Tony McDaniel are juniors but McDaniel's college future is clouded by a pending court appearance on an aggravated assault charge.

Another junior, J.T. Mapu, currently on a two-year Mormon mission, is scheduled to rejoin the Vols in time for the 2006 season. Non-scholarshipper Matt McGlothlin is hoping to rejoin the team this fall after serving a one-year disciplinary suspension.

Junior LaRon Harris recently was dismissed from the team due to academic concerns. End Jared Hostetter was supposed to get some work at defensive tackle during spring practice but an injury sidetracked those plans.

Rounding out the Vols' defensive tackle corps is freshman Demonte Bolden, a mid-term enrollee last winter who had an impressive spring but is unproven against college competition.

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