NFL scouts like Ainge

The University of Tennessee's fans and future foes aren't the only people watching red-hot Volunteer quarterback Erik Ainge these days. National Football League scouts are observing him closely, as well.

A recent story posted on suggests that pro teams are acutely aware of the junior signal-callers' remarkable work through Tennessee's first six games. Here's what the story had to say about Ainge and his impressive performance last weekend:

"After falling behind early the Tennessee Volunteers lit up during the second half and pulled off a huge upset in Athens against conference rival Georgia.

"Erik Ainge, already getting plenty of looks by NFL scouts, had another strong game totaling 268-yards passing while connecting on a pair of touchdown tosses.

"Unlikely to enter April's draft, Ainge is setting himself up to be one of the highest rated passers for the 2008 event."

The web site also had kind words for Vol teammate Arron Sears, the senior offensive tackle who played the Georgia game on a sore ankle that kept him from practicing most of last week. To wit:

"On the line of scrimmage Arron Sears more then held his own against Georgia's outstanding pass rushing tandem of Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses. Sears performance yesterday will likely give him serious first round consideration, something we feel he deserves."

Whereas UT's Ainge and Sears improved their draft stock Saturday night, Georgia's Moses saw his stock decline sharply. Here's what had to say:

"On the flip-side red flags must start to be raised on Moses. The vaunted pass rusher who was rated by several scouting services as the top senior prospect in the nation, recorded just two tackles and assisted on one tackle for loss. Moses has a single sack to his credit this season."

Interestingly enough, South Carolina's sensational sophomore receiver, Sidney Rice, is slipping on some NFL Draft boards, as well. dissected his performances in lackluster wins over Ole Miss and Kentucky with these words:

"Sidney Rice is another that has question marks surrounding him. After a slow start to the season Rice really picked it up during the Gamecocks' third and fourth games, albeit against inferior competition. Rice again was quiet the past two games when he faced SEC opponents.

"The red-shirt sophomore was considered a first-round pick entering the season and has totaled 26 receptions in six games. Against the four SEC teams South Carolina has faced off against Rice has accounted for just ten catches."

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