Sleeping in Morristown

Tennessee's latest football commitment, Blake Garrettson of Morristown East High School, isn't a blue chip D-line prospect, which means he falls into the same category as such noteworthy Vols as Jason Hall, Cory Anderson and Justin Harrell.

That in-state trio wasn't highly acclaimed coming out high school either, but each showed Tennessee's coaches enough to make them believe they were worth the offer of a scholarship. And over the next five years each would justify that faith in no uncertain terms.

It remains to be seen if Blake Garrettson becomes a prominent starter at Tennessee like Hall, Anderson and Harrell did, but it's a good bet he'll be the least heralded member of UT's Class of 2006.

In truth, he wasn't just unranked by, he was unaccounted for — one of those rare fall-between-the-cracks prospects that managed to escape the dragnet that supplies Scout's extensive player data base.

"Evidently he's a pretty good player if Tennessee saw enough in the films to offer him to come down there," said Morristown East head football coach Larry Smith. "He did a good job for us."

Garrettson is a good player who is ranked one of the state's top 15 prospects in a down year for gridiron talent in the Volunteer State, but he wasn't one that had been exactly overwhelmed by Division I scholarship offers.

"I think that Kentucky had been recruiting him and Alabama showed some interest, just quite a few other schools," said Smith. "I know that Tennessee Tech was interested and Liberty University, well just quite a few around. The offer from Tennessee was the first concrete offer as far as I know."

Obviously, the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Garrettson made a good impression when he attended UT's football camp last summer.

"He ran a 4.7 time (in the 40) this summer in camp at Knoxville," Smith shared. "He played middle linebacker for us, mainly in a 4-3 sometimes a 3-5. I felt we played him out of position, but in high school you've got to play where needed."

A three-year starter for Morristown East, Garrettson also played tackle on offense as a senior after starting at tight end as a sophomore and junior. MEHS went 7-3 during his sophomore season and 6-4 as a junior. It was 4-7 in 2005, losing in the first round of the playoffs.

"We played him some at tackle," Smith stated. "I think he'll be a down lineman in college either outside or inside on defense. He's started three years for us. He played tight end as a sophomore and junior. He's a pretty good tight end."

Smith also lauded Garrettson as a young man with a good character and work ethic.

"He's an outstanding young man very personable, does what's asked of him," Smith said. "I don't see that you could say much more about somebody than that. He's got a good work ethic. He works hard in the weight room and he's a good student. I think he'll do what they tell him to do down there."

In addition to excellent size and speed, Garrettson has good strength and excellent quickness, according to Smith.

"He's got about a 315, 320 power clean at the end of last workouts," Smith said. "He's got some hand quickness for a defensive lineman. He could get off the ball quickly. He covered from sideline to sideline as a linebacker so he should have some good pursuit habits if he does play down."

Garrettson may just turn out to be the type of no-name, big-game prospect Tennessee needs to rebuild it's program.

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