Vols Hunt Familiar Turf

Morgan Park High School in Chicago has been very good to the Tennessee Volunteers and it may soon get even better.

In 2000 the Vols signed All-American linebacker Karlton Neal from Morgan Park High School, and this year they signed highly rated offensive lineman Ramone Johnson from the same Chicago school.

Now Tennessee is making a move on cover corner Marcus Thomas of Morgan Park, who is coming off an impressive junior campaign in which he recorded 55 tackles, six interceptions, 11 pass breakups and a pair of forced fumbles in 13 games. The 5-foot-11, 160-pound defensive back runs a 4.5 in the 40, but needs to add strength and size to play press coverage in the SEC.

"I'd say that I'm a lockdown corner," Thomas told Josh Clark of Scout.com. "Like all the coaches have told me, I have good closing speed on my tackles and to the ball. I use to play receiver when I was young so I have that mentality of going to the ball to make a play happen."

Thomas has been offered by Illinois and is getting a lot of attention from other Big 10 powers such as Iowa , Michigan State and Ohio State. He also has interest in Iowa State, Northern Illinois and Tennessee. Oddly enough his affinity for UT is because the Vols signed his teammate this year as much as it is because he used to watch them growing up in Florida.

"I grew up in Miami and attended Carol City High School as a freshman," he told Clark. "I watched the SEC all the time, and really liked watching Tennessee. During my spring break, my family and I are going down to Disney World and I think we are going to stop by their spring game on April 8th."

Thomas has been invited to attend the Scout.com combine in Iowa City on April 22.

In another case of returning to fertile hunting ground, the Vols are interested in St. John's College High School linebacker Tony Tucker, who attends the same Washington D.C. school that produced U.S. Army All-American linebacker Rico McCoy.

Tucker checks in at 6-3, 220 pounds and runs a 4.6 time in the 40. Tucker bench presses 320 pounds and squats 450 pounds. He was particularly impressive in the Scout.com combine held March 5 in Pittsburgh.

The following scouting report from that combine was submitted by Harry G. Psaro to Scout.com.

"Tony Tucker (6-foot-3 inches, 220 pounds) from St. Johns College High School in Washington, D.C. was very impressive. He is capable of playing linebacker or defensive end on the next level. Tucker was simply impossible to block during one-on-one drills. A well-muscled physical specimen, he utilized a combination of blistering speed and strength to blow by opposing linemen."

Tucker has been offered by Pittsburgh, Boston College, Akron and Ohio on the strength of his combine showing. Other schools Tucker is interested in include: Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Syracuse and Tennessee.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories