Brandon Joiner: Texas Tornado

Pass rushers come in a variety packages from 300-pound behemoths with amazing agility like a Reggie White, to undersized surprises like 236-pound defensive end Fred Dean, who terrorized NFL QBs for years as a 49er, to seek-and-destroy linebackers like the great Lawrence Taylor and imposing safeties like Ronnie Lott.

The common denominator among the aforementioned specialists is quickness, strength and tenacity. The 2007 prospect who may embody those assets better than any other is Killeen Shoemaker High School defensive end Brandon Joiner.

At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Joiner doesn't enjoy a size advantage even at the high school level, but once the ball is snapped he is virtually unstoppable. He explodes off the football, maintains great leverage and puts big O-linemen away with swift dispatch.

During the U.S. Army junior combine held January in San Antonio, Texas, he was one of the true standouts in a large group of top drawer of defensive players from across the country. In pass rushing drills he dominated offensive tackles that outweighed him by 100 pounds by blowing past them or getting beneath their pads at the snap and literally pushing them into the passer or out of his way. In the process he was named the combine's defensive MVP and served notice that he is a force to be reckoned with.

"Ever since that camp things have gotten crazy," he told's Jeremy Patterson. I get about a shoebox of letters a week," Joiner said. "I don't have any offers yet, but they are getting close. Miami, Alabama, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas and LSU are some of the schools I'm hearing from."

Joiner is a player that compares closely to former Vol great and current NFL star Leonard Little. It wouldn't be surprising to see him used in a similar capacity as Little particularly in college.

"Most schools are recruiting me at one of the two positions," Joiner said. "Some said they could use me at linebacker because of my speed or put me at defensive end and put some weight on me where I don't lose my speed."

Joiner runs a 4.6 which would enable him to play an outside or rush linebacker. Wherever he lines up his forte will be pressuring opposing passers.

The Vols have had mixed results recruiting the talent-rich state of Texas over the years, but Brandon Joiner is a prospect worth pursuing especially for a defense that is built on quickness and prides itself on applying pressure.

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