Vinson Earns Five Stars

Good things come to those that wait: If there was ever an example of that adage it's Tennessee's coaching staff which took a lot of critcism for failing to sign a single five-star prospect in what was widely regarded as a sub par 2006 signing class.

That five-star dry spell has continued through the midway point of the 2007 recruiting campaign, but now we can report that it is officially over. Ironically, it ended when Brent Vinson, who the Vols signed in February and placed in prep school was recently elevated to five-star status by Scout.com.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Vinson is from Hampton, Va., where he played for Phoebus HIgh School. Largely overlooked because he didn't begin playing football until his junior season, he was a two-way starter as a senior at wide receiver and cornerback. Vinson compiled an impressive 1,200 receiving yards and five interceptions, returning two of those picks for touchdowns.

He would have likely competed for playing time as a true freshman at UT this fall, but he failed to gain admission and was placed in prep school at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., where he has progressed even further with playing experience.

Vinson was listed as a three-star prospect by Scout.com when he signed with Tennessee, despite the fact he had an outstanding performance at one of the Nike Camps.

"My first year was my 11th grade year," Vinson said of experience level. "The three stars I got I really got in one day when I went to the Nike Camp. They only had me at one star. I knew how good I was when I went to the Nike Camp that's when I showed some things. I had the highest vertical (40 inches). I had the second fastest 40 (4.40) and I had one of the best shuttle runs. I also had one of the highest bench presses for wide receivers. I believe I did about 185 (pounds) a total of 13 times. I max about 305 on the bench."

Prior to his breakthrough in football, Vinson was highly regarded as a basketball prospect. He started four seasons at Phoebus, averaging 26 points per game as a junior and 23.5 points as a senior. He scored a season-high of 37 points in one game this year and limited Crews to nine points when Phoebus played Bethel.

"Duke Crews is one of my best friends from when I played basketball when I was much younger," said Vinson. "I had a coach from USC that came to our school and someone from Miami. There were a lot of coaches that came. It just so happened that one of my best friends committed there (Tennessee). A lot of people think that I committed there just because of him. But if it fits him for basketball and me for football I can't do anything about that."

Vinson is using his year in prep school to refine his game, and factors into the Vols receiver rotation in 2007. He could also fill a hole in the secondary and is an electrifying return specialist.

"Tennessee has been talking to me about playing all over the place," he said. "They're adding a new style to their offense. Coach (David) Cutcliffe is back. He's a very good coach. I talk to him all the time. We have a good relationship.

Vinson brings enthusiasm and athletcism to any position he plays, and he wouldn't mind seeing service on defense if it helps the team. However with the Vols likely to lose their top three wideouts, he'll probably get his first look on offense.

"I have a real good relationship with Coach (Larry) Slade," Vinson said. "He's from around this area also. I talked to Todd Kelly a lot. He's a UT alum from around here, and he knows a lot about Tennessee. He's helped me expect what will happen with that stadium and all those people."

Undoubtedly, all those people will be eagerly anticipating this five-star prospect's arrival at Neyland Stadium.


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