Vereen Goes Varoom

Playing catch-up with Daryl Vereen of Huntersville, N.C., is a risky proposition, but Tennessee has managed to do just that and are now in position to win the competition for the certified speedster's scintillating services.

Although the Vols didn't offer Daryl Vereen a scholarship until last Friday, they instantly jumped into co-favorite status along with South Carolina, and ahead of North Carolina, N.C. State, Clemson, Duke and Virginia.

A week after National Signing Day 2006, Vereen only had one scholarship offer and that was from the Blue Devils. However his stock took off when he turned on the jets at a couple of high-profile combines. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound back turned a 40-yard time of 4.35 at the Shrine Bowl Combine and a 4.38 at the All-American Combines. The ability to duplicate such an impressive clocking under the high-tech scrutiny of separate combines and on different surfaces didn't answer all the questions about Vereen, but it did establish that he has the speed to play in any league.

That's when the scholarship offers began to stream in for a prospect who, somehow, got lost in the shuffle after a junior season in which Vereen rushed for over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns, despite missing three games with a broken hand. The general oversight of such a football talent turned out to be fortuitous Tennessee.

"I got an offer from Tennessee on Friday," Vereen told's Don Callahan. "My coach let me know. They're up there with South Carolina now really, but I don't know. Tennessee got a real good running back last year, so I don't know. South Carolina and Tennessee are my leaders. N.C. State and North Carolina are still up there."

The identity of that "real good running back" might be a subject of interest to UT's coaching staff and fans, but there is another North Carolina running back on UT's roster, Montario Hardesty, who has been compared by scouts to Daryl Vereen. Hardesty is bigger and stronger, but he's also a couple of years older. The comparisons might end there because there's at least a reasonable chance Vereen could end up in the secondary. "Really, I will play free safety or DB if that's where they want me," he stated. "But, I like playing running back. I don't have any problem changing my position if it's going to benefit the team."

With his ability to run, Vereen, who led the North Mecklenburg Vikings to the state playoffs last season could benefit teams at the next level on either side of the ball. He's also an excellent kick returner and special teams standout.

Vereen indicates he will attend camp at Tennessee this summer, in addition to camping at North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, N.C. State and South Carolina. He is the sixth prospect the Vols have offered in the Class of 2007 to record a sub 4.4 time.

Vereen is a full qualifier at North Mecklenburg High School (near Charlotte), which is ranked No. 93 academically out of 27,000 high schools in the nation.

Whether in the classroom or on the gridiron, Vereen keeps fast company.

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