LSU-UT Winner Makes Haul

It doesn't take a football recruiting expert to discern Saturday's LSU-Tennessee SEC showdown and CBS showcase, has the type of smack, tackle and pop that could reverberate all the way through national signing day — 2007.

Both programs will have the big stage to strut their stuff before fans who fret their fate, when they're not expelling their lungs in vocal support of their team. It's Shakespeare played to the masses in one of the world's great arenas, and to the tune of two marching bands. There are pathos aplenty in this one — revenge, redemption, reward, regret.

Will LSU avenge the most disappointing loss from last season, a game the Tigers led 21-0 at the half only to lose 30-27 in overtime? Will Erik Ainge erase his most painful memory from last season, a first half meltdown that cumulated in... well, you know.

Ironically, while it was a personal low point for Ainge, it turned out to be the 2005 high point for Tennessee, as the Vols never again found the magic they displayed on that steamy, September night down on the hurricane ravished bayou.

This season has seen a reversal of fortune for both Ainge and Tennessee, as the Vols are one of several one-loss teams still in the national title picture. And no player has come to embody that transformation more than Ainge, who ranks among the nation's passing leaders.

LSU has lost twice this fall and needs a win to make amends to their supporters for the collapse at Tiger Stadium against Tennessee last year. The Vols need a good home showing to remain a viable BCS contender.

This story line has many dramatic elements and there's no shortage of dynamic talent on each team to assure this will be a compelling match-up, that hooks viewers.

Among those tuning in will be some of the top football prospects in the country, and their decision on a school could be swayed by the outcome of this game.

Check out this list of prospects that have both LSU and Tennessee among their finalists. • Caleb King, of Atlanta, Ga., a five-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 3 ranked running back.

Ahmad Paige, of Sterlington, La., a five-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 4 ranked wide receiver.

Demetrius Byrd, of Poplarville, Miss., a five-star prospect and Scout.com's top ranked Junior College receiver.

Stefoin Francois. of Reserve, La., a four-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 4 ranked safety.

Ron Brooks, of Irving, Texas, a four-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 7 ranked receiver.

Joseph Barksdale, of Detroit, Mich., a four-star prospect and the nation's No. 12 ranked defensive tackle.

Brandon Paul, of Tallahassee, Fla., a four-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 14 ranked cornerback.

James Scott, of Daytona Beach, Fla., a four-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 21 ranked cornerback.

Rae Sykes, of Alcoa, Tenn., a four-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 25 ranked defensive end.

Cameron Heyward, of Suwanee, Ga., a four-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 29 ranked defensive tackle.

That's just the top ten, but if the Vols could have any five from this list they wouldn't need to commit another prospect in this class — except for Chris Donald, who plans to be in attendance.


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