UT Lands McCallie QB

Over the last three years, Tennessee has ranged from coast to coast in its quest for a quarterback, landing Eric Ainge from Oregon, Brent Schaeffer from Florida, Jonathan Crompton from North Carolina and Nick Stephens from Texas, but this year the Vols have plucked a QB from their own backyard, getting a commitment Tuesday from B.J. Coleman of Chattanooga McCallie.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Coleman threw for 2,203 yards and 19 touchdowns with only three interceptions as a junior. He's the Vols eighth commitment in the Class of 2007, the third in the last four days, the second from Chattanooga and the fifth from Tennessee.

According to a story by written by Stan Crawley of Tennessee Prep, Coleman got the offer during a phone call from UT head coach Phillip Fulmer himself.

McCallie Sports Information Director Trey Tucker said: "It took him only about 30 minutes to decide after coach Fulmer's offer.''

The whirlwind courtship is the result of Coleman hitting it off with UT offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, and making a real impression on the coaching staff during camp. According to Tucker the Vols liked Coleman better than any signal caller they evaluated this year.

"He told B.J. that out of more than 200 quarterbacks he has evaluated, that he was the one Tennessee wanted,'' Tucker related. "B.J. is such a fine young man. He has handled all this recruiting with a lot of humility.''

The offer came as a surprise to Coleman albeit a pleasant one.

"It was definitely a surprise and an honor when coach Fulmer called with the offer," he said. "It feels great. I'm pumped.''

Coleman, who grew up in Chattanooga, describes himself as a fan of SEC football and an ardent admirer of Coach Cutcliffe.

"I love coach Cut,'' he said. "I've been going to the camps and I've developed more than a coach/athlete relationship. We have a real connection.''

Now he is hopeful that Cutcliffe can do for him what he has done for other Tennessee signal callers.

"Now, I've got an opportunity to play for one of the best teams in the nation," he said. "Coach Cut will have a chance to mold me like he did the Mannings, Heath Shuler, Todd Helton and Andy Kelly.''

Until then, Coleman will concentrate on his upcoming senior season at McCallie.

"That's my big mission, my priority,'' he said. "Now, I can relax and focus on winning a state championship ring.''

It won't be as big a surprise as the ring he got Tuesday night.

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