Center of attention

Usually basketball players beget basketball players and football players beget football players. Sometimes, though, basketball players beget football players. That's the case with one of the offensive linemen Tennessee is checking out this summer.

Caleb Thomas, son of former Ole Miss basketball player Tim Thomas, is one of the Football Vols' top prospects at the center position. Thomas, who attended the UT Senior Camp last Saturday, is a 6-3, 290-pounder. He was all-region and honorable mention all-state last fall at Decatur (Ala.) High School. He also played in the state's North/South All-Star Game as a junior.

Thomas is fairly agile for a man so large. He has clocked 5.4 in the 40-yard dash and he long-jumped 7 feet, 11 inches at the combine at Tuscaloosa earlier this year. That was the second-best long jump of any offensive lineman at the combine.

Thomas has one scholarship offer to date – from Troy – but is hoping to get an offer from the Vols someday. He says they are his leader at this point.

"Tennessee is probably my leader," he told Yancy Porter of Mississippi Scout. "I like their coaches. They have a family atmosphere. Their facilities are nice, and it is not far from home."

Thomas attended the senior camp at Ole Miss, his dad's alma mater, earlier this summer. He enjoyed it, too, but suggests Tennessee's camp was more enjoyable.

"It was not like Ole Miss'. It was more laid back," he said. "They did a little more coaching at Tennessee. Basically all of the camps are the same with the one-on-one drills and the testings and stuff. I really enjoyed both Tennessee and Ole Miss. They just have different approaches."

Although Ole Miss and Tennessee like Thomas, they are still evaluating center prospects and deciding whether or not to offer him a scholarship.

"Ole Miss said I am like second or third in line behind T-Bob Herbert," he told Porter. "At Tennessee, I am about third. I do not know who I am behind. They did not tell me like Ole Miss did. They just said I am third in line."

It appears Thomas is Tennessee's if the Vols elect to offer a scholarship. He likes the school, the coaches and the proximity to his Alabama home.

"I want to stay close to home," he told Porter.

Two more factors weigh heavily in the Vols' favor.

"The facilities will also be important," Thomas said. "And their tradition. That is what I like about Tennessee. They have great tradition."

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