Vols Pursue Premier Pass Rusher

It's often difficult to distinguish Tennessee defensive end prospects from Tennessee linebacker prospects, which makes the Vols current recruiting drive to replace all of its starters at both of positions so significant.

It also makes Maurice Evans an ideal fit for UT, because he's a pure, albeit raw, defensive end who can pressure off the edge or stuff the dive off tackle. Scout.com rates the 6-foot-3, 252-pound native of Middle Village, NY, the nation's No. 5 defensive end, although there is a chance he could eventually grow into a tackle. He needs to refine his pass rushing technique, but in terms of speed, strength and tenacity he could contribute early at UT as a defensive end.

Evans burst on the scene as the only sophomore starter for Christ the King Regional High School and finished the campaign with 60 tackles and eight sacks. He continued to progress as a junior by posting 72 tackles and 11 sacks to earn all-city and all-league honors, although the Royals struggled for success after moving up to AAA classification.

In September, the soft-spoken star known as "Mo," was named to the U.S. Army All-American team and will play in the Jan. 7 bowl game in San Antonio, earning a chance to test himself against the nation's best. It will be interesting to see how Evans matches up, but there's no question he has the talent to make life miserable for O-linemen.

"Maurice proves to be a dominant player with explosive moves, great strength and quick hands," said super scout Tom Lemming. "He is very talented and athletic with unusual flexibility and body control."

Athletic enough to flourish on the high school hardwood, Evans is also a force in the weight room. He bench presses 325 and squats 500 which combined with his 4.7 speed and excellent quickness enables him to attack off the edge.

Tennessee has gradually made up ground in the race for Evans and are now listed in his top seven along with Maryland, Miami, Penn State, Syracuse, USC and Virginia. He hasn't set any off visits this year, either official or otherwise, and appears to be open at this point.

"I want to go somewhere that I feel comfortable," Evans told Scout.com's Allen Wallace. "I want a place where I get along with the players and have a good vibe with the coaches. I want to choose somewhere that feels like home."

Evans is fully qualified and reports a score of 1370 on his SAT.

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