Big Visit Weekend Taking Shape

With football recruiting off to a slow start and the football season reaching a quick conclusion, Big Orange fans sure could use a little good news, and there is some in the offing.

The Vols, who host at least six quality prospects on official visits the weekend of Dec. 12, are looking to land some help for the rebuilding project presently underway. Included on that list is a trio of offensive linemen that are versatile and athletic.

Of most interest is Jacques McClendon of Chattanooga Baylor High School, who committed to the Vols last spring, but continues to makes visits and is categorized as a soft verbal. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound lineman plays both sides of the ball and projects as an O-lineman, according to which rates him the nation's No. 10 prospect at that position. He has been named to play in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7 in San Antonio.

McClendon visited Notre Dame on Oct. 14 and Alabama on Nov. 11. He also plans to take official visits to Auburn and LSU, although no dates have been confirmed. UT would love to lock him down next weekend to stablize the Class of 2006, particularly since he's the only five-star prospect among eight current commitments for the Vols. McClendon made an official visit for UT's home finale against Vanderbilt.

In an odd juxtaposition the Vols will also get a visit from another five-star offensive line prospect who is a soft verbal to Maryland. Antonio Logan- El, 6-5, 310, of Forestville, Md., is rated the nation's No. 9 O-line prospect.

Logan-El has also visited Oklahoma and has officials set for Florida (Jan. 13) and Virginia (Jan. 20). He take his NCAA sanction visit to Maryland the week before coming to Tennessee. Blessed with excellent quickness, balance and diversity, he could play tackle or guard. He excelled on defense in at Forestville High as a senior recording 89 tackles with 6.5 sacks. He allowed only one sack on defense.

The third member of this impressive blocking threesome may be the most interesting off all. Ramone Johnson, 6-4, 315, of Morgan Park High School in Chicago, is rated No. 24 nationally, but could be No. 1 in terms of upside. Johnson has 5.0 speed, a 365-pound bench press, 550 squat and can power clean 205 pounds five times. He recorded 52 pancake blocks as a junior to help lead his team to a 12-1 and the state quarterfinals.

Johnson comes from the same high school that produced former Vol defensive end Karlton Neal, and he has the look of a classic pulling guard. He is also considering offers from Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Oregon, but his visit to UT is his first, and the only one he has scheduled so far.

The other three prospects slated to visit the weekend of Dec. 12 are: Kendrick Lewis, a 6-0, 188-pound wideout with 4.58 speed from Gainesville, Ga. He is committed to Mississippi, but still plans visits to South Carolina and possibly LSU in addition to Tennessee. Also on tap is Houston Spring Woods safety Daniel Johnson, who checks in at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and runs a 4.52 time in the 40. He could play linebacker at the next level but his size at safety is intriguing. He is considering offers from LSU, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Texas. He visited Texas Tech last weekend. The sixth of these visitors is Brandon Heath, 6-1, 190, 4.55, of Palm Beach Lakes High School in West Palm Beach, Fla, who can play safety or wide receiver. He has been offered by West Virginia, Florida, Louisville, Minnesota, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Additions and amendments to this list can be expected and we'll keep you updated.

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