Jason Allen making a move

Although Tennessee's secondary boasts more experience than usual this year, freshman Jason Allen is making a strong bid for playing time.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound cornerback prospect graduated early from Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School and enrolled at UT last January. He participated in the Vols' Citrus Bowl preparations but missed spring practice following minor shoulder surgery. Now that he's healthy again, he's making up for lost time.

In last Saturday's full-scale scrimmage, he blanketed wide receiver Montrell Jones on one play, then belted speedy wideout Jonathan Wade to break up a pass on the very next snap. Moments later, he recorded another nice pass breakup. Allen came back with another strong showing in Tuesday night's scrimmage work, registering four tackles.

''Jason's a football player,'' secondary coach Larry Slade said. ''He really takes coaching well and he's made a lot of progress. Athletically, we knew he was pretty gifted, so it was just a matter of getting him reps and playing him in the right place. Right now he's out there at corner, and he's doing a pretty good job.''

In addition to Allen, Slade is taking a long look at such young DBs as redshirt freshmen Robert Boulware, Shannon Benton and Chris Heath, plus sophomore Corey Larkins. One of two of them could play key roles this fall.

''It's a possibility,'' Slade said. ''We want to see them keep coming ... become more consistent. We're always trying to eliminate the big play. When we feel like those guys are in that mode -- where we're not constantly worried about the ball being thrown over the heads or them making a bust -- then they'll move up some.''

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