Keeping up with the Jones

Keeping up with Tennessee football recruiting this week has become a matter of keeping up with the Jones. And it's Interesting to note that the literal pursuit of prospects named Jones is even tougher than its figurative counterpart.

The similarities don't end with their last name as each of the aforementioned prospects, heretofore known as Gerald, Dwight and Markish, project as receivers and each is already committed — but still looking. Gerald is the U.S. Army All-American from Oklahoma City, who committed to Tennessee in December, but is now looking at North Carolina. Dwight is the big wideout from North Carolina who is committed to the Tar Heels but considering Tennessee, among others. Markish is the athlete from South Carolina who is committed to Clemson, but visiting UT this weekend.

A defection by Gerald would be a significant surprise and quite damaging to the Vols recruiting efforts. He is a playmaker that could fill multiple roles on either side of the ball as well as special teams. There's no denying UNC assistant John Blake has closed ground for the Tar Heels with Gerald, it doesn't mean he'll de-commit or even take a visit.

"Through the recruiting process I got to know coach (John) Blake very well and I like him," Gerald Jones told Scout.com's Jamie Newberg. "He has told me to come check out UNC and I am thinking about it. To be honest, I need to sit down with my mom and talk with her about it. So if I decided to visit North Carolina it would be next weekend (Feb. 2)."

UT and UNC are also in the battle for Dwight along with Clemson and Alabama. The 6-4 wideout who is ranked No. 16 at his position by Scout.com visited Tennessee two weeks ago and Clemson last weekend. He visits North Carolina this weekend and Alabama next weekend, which is the last before national signing day.

The Vols are in position to land both Gerald and Dwight, however, a split would appear to be a virtual tradeoff. Both are four-star prospects projected for UT's position of greatest need. Gerald is faster and a better athlete while Dwight is bigger and the better pure receiver. It's important to remember that Gerald has hinted at taking other visits since he committed to the Vols. He's also expressed concerns about the number of receivers UT has committed, a point Carolina is driving home in conversations with him. Gerald is obviously keeping his options open but UT should be able to hold on to this versatile talent.

Markish out of Broome HIgh School in Spartanburg, S.C. is another interesting story. He committed to Clemson on the same October weekend he was scheduled to visit Tennessee. Rated the nation's No. 77 receiver Markish saw his stock take a sharp rise after he was named South Carolina's Offensive MVP for the Carolina Shrine Bowl in which he caught three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. He visited Florida State last weekend and is slated to visit Alabama next weekend. Markish, who is 6-1, 190, with 4.4 speed, is also considering Marshall and remains a soft Clemson commitment. Wherever he goes he appears to be a sign-and-place prospect at this point.

Also scheduled to visit the Vols this weekend is Devonte Campbell, a 6-2, 235-pound tight end prospect from Forestville, Md. He is rated the nation's No. 33 tight end by Scout.com but UT is believed to prefer him as a defensive end. As a senior he caught 20 passes for 768 yards and 10 touchdowns. He recorded 62 tackles with seven sacks. Campbell may represent a fallback choice for the Vols. Otherwise, he's more likely to be brought in as a gray shirt. He is also considering Illinois, Maryland and Syracuse.

In other recruiting news: No. 9 wideout Ahmad Paige has pushed his scheduled visit to USC back to Feb. 2. He is also contemplating a visit to Alabama. In addition to UT, he has visited Florida, Florida State and Georgia. Like Paige often finds himself on the gridiron, this one is wide open.


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