Tennessee in Tulsa Tussle

In February, the Vols reached into Sooner Country and came away with a four-star defensive end prospect in Chase Nelson of Tulsa Union High School. Now UT is out to enact a Union reunion by adding his four-star O-line teammate Matt Romine.

That ambitious task figures to be all the tougher with a lineup of heavy hitters such as Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, LSU and Alabama also offering the 6-foot-6, 275-pound senior.

"My strengths are my athletic ability and my pass protection skills," Romine told Scout.com. "It's about hard work and being a good technician. I think I'm best suited to play left tackle, where you have more space to cover. I need to work on staying low when I'm run blocking and keeping my pad level down."

As a junior, Romine averaged about five pancakes per game and graded out at about 90 percent, earning All-State honors and helping Union win its second straight state championship.

Exceptionally quick for a prospect his size, Romine runs a 5.20 time in the 40, has a 23-inch vertical leap and plays on the varsity basketball squad. With a 300-pound bench press and 350-pound squat he has room for improvement, but strength is the easiest area to improve. He's a solid student, who is fully qualified with a 3.4 core GPA and a 21 score on his ACT.

The Vols took notice of Romine while recruiting Nelson last year, and were immediately sold after seeing him again during the May evaluation period. That's when UT jumped into the fray with both feet.

"Michigan, Colorado and Tennessee are the most recent schools to offer me," he told Allen Wallace of Scout.com. "The rest offered me in early May, except for Notre Dame which offered me in March."

Romine is interested in Tennessee and would like to take an unofficial visit to Knoxville at some point this summer.

"I've talked to Coach (Phil) Fulmer once," he told Wallace. "They have a lot of tradition there and great fan support. It's a big-time college program and that's the type of program I want to go to. My teammate Chase Nelson (defensive line) also just signed on to play for Tennessee, too.

"This summer I might visit Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, Tennessee and maybe LSU."

Naturally, there's a lot of pressure to keep Romine at home with Tulsa, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in hot pursuit.

"I definitely get a lot of people telling me that I need to go to OU or OSU," he said, "but right now I am leaning towards taking all five of my official visits and just seeing what opportunities are out there for me."

Romine can't say where he'll sign yet or even which school he favors, but he knows what he's looking for.

"It is going to be important that I feel comfortable with my position coach, because I am going to spend a lot of time with him," Romine James Hale of Sooner Illustrated. "It is important that I feel comfortable around the head coach as well. It is also important to me what kind of facilities that the program has. Outside of those things I really haven't thought about it."

Before this recruiting campaign is concluded, Romine is sure to have a lot of food for thought.

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