Pursuing Pachyderms

Although it is still too early in the current college football recruiting campaign to draw many conclusions, it's fair to state Tennessee is headed for OT. No, not OT as in overtime, but OT as in offensive tackles, and judging from early offers extended by the Vols, the Big Orange coaching staff is putting in heavy duty OT recruiting heavy duty OTs.

According to Scout.com the Vols have offered scholarships to six offensive tackle prospects, including one to Mike Adams of Dublin, Ohio, who has committed to Ohio State. The other five offers have gone out to two prospects from Tennessee as well as one each from SEC states Alabama, South Carolina and Florida.

The interest in high school tackles isn't surprising since the biggest and strongest O-linemen at the high school level are most often tackles. They may not always be the best blockers on their teams but they are usually the best prospects because of the size factor.

Since the Vols routinely use guards and tackles interchangeably they go for physical requirements over technical achievement. In other words, you can teach a 6-foot-5 prospect to block but you can't teach a good blocker to be 6-foot-5. That's why it's not surprising that every OT UT has offered is at least 6-foot-5.

Here's a capsule look at the offensive tackles UT has offered:

MIKE ADAMS, 6-7, 300, this imposing prospect from Dublin Coffman High School is the most heralded on this list. An excellent pass blocker with a lot of room to grow, he chose the Buckeyes over offers from Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

BARRETT JONES, 6-5, 260, of Evangelical Christian School in Cordova. Not as big as others on this list he has a nice frame and very good mobility. Jones attended Junior Day at Auburn and Alabama and plans to attend UT's Spring Game on March 31. Besides Tennessee he holds offers from the Tigers, the Tide, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.

DAVID SPURLOCK, 6-5, 290, of Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, he earned Class 5A All-State honors and helped lead Riverdale's drive to the state title game. Another player with the long arms and quick feet required to play on the open side of the formation, he also has early offers from Alabama and Vanderbilt. It seems like since Saban took over in Tuscaloosa, the Tide are recruiting the Volunteer State like it's north Alabama.

TEAVIS DURGIN, 6-6, 295, of Daphne, Ala., had a breakout junior season in which coordination appeared to catch up to his size. He still has work to do in the weight room but is a hard worker and good student. In a case of turnabout is fair play, the Vols were the first team to offer Durgin. He has expressed an interest to stay in the state and both Alabama and Auburn are recruiting him, although neither has offered.

GREG SHAW, 6-6, 280, of Monsignor Pace High School in Miami, Fla., played tackle on both sides of the line. He runs a 5.3 time and rates right behind Adams on this list in terms of raw athletic talent. Combines bulk, power and quickness off the ball to dominate at the point of attack. His half-brother Willie Williams was an Army All-American at linebacker before signing with Louisville. Shaw has an offer from the Cardinals as well as offers from UT, Florida, Ole Miss, Florida State, North Carolina, Auburn, Georgia Tech and West Virginia among others.

KENNETH PAGE, 6-5, 280, of A.C. Flora High School in Columbia, S.C., is one of the top five prospects in the Palmetto State and one of the hottest O-line prospects in the nation. Shows a quick slide step, good base and strong hands. A good blocker in open space. Has offers from Tennessee, South Carolina, Clemson, Colorado, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Florida, Florida State and Penn State.

Other offensive tackles Tennessee is showing an interest in are: Ryan Benzik, 6-5, 315, of Fern Creek, Ky., Ryan Sedlacek, 6-5, 295, of Westport, Conn., Antoine McClain, 6-6, 313 of Anniston, Ala., Ronald Byrd, 6-6, 246, of Hogansville, Ga. and Dallas Thomas, 6-5, 280 of Baton Rouge, La.


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