UT's QB Quest Quickens

Tennessee's quarterback quest is picking up steam with word Ole Miss commitment Nick Stephens has joined former Arkansas commitment Mitch Mustain considering the Vols as an option.

"I'm going to visit Tennessee the 13th of January," Stephens told Barry Bolton of Cougfan.com. "But other than that, that's pretty much it. I haven't talked with the other schools (that recently offered) all that much."

Besides Tennessee those schools offering the nation's No. 11 ranked quarterback include Washington State, Duke and Louisiana Tech.

Renown for his arm strength and passing accuracy, the 6-foot-4, 208-pound Stephens plays for Flower Mound High School in Lewiston, Texas. Stephens sat out his junior season because of district transfer rules but rebounded with a stellar senior season, leading Flower Mound to a 7-3 mark and passing for 2,700 yards and 24 touchdowns.

His interest in Tennessee was piqued after offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe called with a scholarship offer. Ole Miss is in the process of hiring its own offensive coordinator but the delay may have opened the door for competition.

"Its a bigger school, and I like the SEC," Stephens said. "Coach (Phillip) Fulmer has been pretty good over the years. I just wanted to go up there and meet the coaches, all that stuff. It will help me get a better view of (Tennessee)."

The Vols seem likely to get a visit from No. 1 rated signal caller and Parade National Player of the Year Mitch Mustain of Springdale, Ark., also. He is also looking at Notre Dame and Alabama although his interest in the Tide seems more casual at this juncture.

"It's Notre Dame, Tennessee and Alabama a little bit," he told a reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "I'm looking for a place where I'm comfortable. The first thing is where I'm going to be living. I want to enjoy that."

The interest in Alabama coincides with the graduation of Brodie Croyle and the recent commitment of Ponte Vera Beach, Fla., quarterback Tim Tebow to the Gators. Tebow was Alabama's top target at quarterback in the Class of 2006.

Mustain offered some insight about the impact of his high school head coach Gus Malzahn recently being hired as Arkansas' offensive coordinator.

"When he was still my coach I knew he would be on the staff at Arkansas somehow," Mustain said. "But I decided to open it up anyway. He's capable of handling that job on his own."

Mustain maintains his interest in Arkansas and the Razorbacks remain a viable contender for his services. Any visits he decides to take will have to be after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game on Jan. 7.

Tennessee is also a finalist for Arvell Nelson of Glenville, Ohio, who is rated the nation's No. 24 quarterback by Scout.com. He is expected to choose either Iowa or Tennessee, although no timeframe for a decision has been established.


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