O-line Prize Picks Vols

One of the biggest prospects on Tennessee's board is now officially in the Big Orange fold, as Chi-Town O-lineman Ramone Johnson announced his intention to sign with the Vols.

Rated No. 26 among a deep class of offensive line prospects and the No. 1 prospect in Illinois, the 6-foot-5, 315-pound pile driver is a potential impact player at a position of need for UT. Furthermore, his 5-flat speed and ability to change directions make him an ideal guard candidate to get out in front of sweeps or clear the way for screens. Tennessee loses both of its starting guards from the 2005 team.

Additionally, Johnson has exceptional strength with a 380-pound bench press and 560-pound squat and brings the type of smash-mouth approach that can help restore the Vols' power running game as a fixture on offense.

As a junior at Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Ramone Johnson posted 52 pancake blocks, earning all-conference and all-city honors for the Mustangs. He was recruited by UT's Greg Atkins, who will also serve as his position coach on the Hill

. Among the many schools to pursue Johnson with offers were Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Penn State and Nebraska. He also visited paid unofficial visits to USC, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Iowa. His decision came down to Tennessee and Illinois which he visited last weekend. Even though he went into that visit with an open mind his heart was already at Tennessee.

"Yeah it's a lot different than Chicago," he said. "But I don't think it's anything to get used to, nothing I see right now. When I get down there it might be a different story. I still feel I can enjoy myself. I like the idea of playing in the SEC and playing in front of all those fans." Atmosphere was really important to me."

Johnson joins an impressive group of O-line prospects pledged to the Vols which includes: No. 11 ranked Jacques McClendon, No. 44 Cody Pope and prep school seasoned Darrius Myers, who signed with UT in 2005. Jared Shaw, 6-4, 310, of Lafayette, La., is another prospect that could end up on the offensive line.

The addition of Ramone Johnson boosts Tennessee's recruiting ranking to No. 22 nationally, according to Scout.com.

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