Hitting the Trifecta?

During a time of year when we're allowed to indulge our dreams, encouraged to identify our goals and permitted to peer into the future, there's an intriguing, and potentially transformative, Tennessee recruiting scenario that appears fanciful, but is fully grounded in fact.

When the Vols have received a commitment from Eric Berry earlier this month they landed the nation's No. 1 rated corner prospect. Next week they could add the commitment of Huntingdon linebacker Chris Donald, who will announce between Tennessee and Notre Dame at during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Things can always change but the Vols would have to be the odds-on favorite for the native Tennessean, who is ranked the nation's top outside linebacker prospect by Scout.com.

Tennessee is also a finalist for the services of premiere defensive tackle Marvin Austin of Washington, D.C. along with Florida State, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, USC and Miami. He has visited the Vols, Trojans, Terps and Illinois and will spend his last official visit at Florida State on Jan. 20. Austin is not only Scout.com's No. 1 ranked defensive tackle, he heads Scout's Hot 100 nationally.

Obviously, Austin will be the most difficult of this ultra-talented trio for UT to land, but the Vols have a shot. He has made three visits to Knoxville and has an enduring friendship with UT freshman linebacker Rico McCoy who is also from D.C. The opportunity for early playing time at Tennessee is excellent and no conference can offer better competition, bigger crowds or a more intense atmosphere than the SEC. The Vols track record for putting D-Linemen in the NFL is also outstanding and the style of defense UT deploys is ideally suited to McCoy's strengths.

Tennessee's program has more to offer than Illinois, Maryland or North Carolina and it's much closer to home than USC. Florida State is in a down cycle and Bobby Bowden isn't getting any younger. Although UT isn't regarded as a favorite for Austin, it might be the most logical choice.

Perhaps the Vols coaching staff can sell Austin on the idea that if he signed with UT he could be a part of a class that would feature the nation's top prospects on all three levels of the defense — line, linebackers and secondary. When you combine that with existing talent on The Hill that could translate into an dominate defense in the near future.

Admittedly, it sounds like a dream come true, but it's a Dream Team rooted in reality and filled with possibilities.

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