IT Prospect Report

Only in the wide, wild, wacky, wonderful world that is college football recruiting could a defensive tackle from Vanderbilt become a Tennessee Volunteer. That's but one of the items of interest in this weekly IT prospect report.

The D-lineman at issue is Joel Ross of Vanderbilt Catholic High School in Houma, La. The 6-foot, 300-pound run stopper isn't tall by D-I defensive tackle standards, but he is quick, strong and athletic. He recorded 62 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, eight sacks and three fumbles recovered as a junior. He bench presses 360 pounds, squats an astounding 600 pounds and runs a five flat 40.

Ross has offers from Ole Miss and Oklahoma and is being seriously pursued by USC, LSU, Florida, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Auburn, Minnesota and Kansas State among others.(Ironically, Vanderbilt is in that group.) His lateral mobility was on showcased at New Orleans combine where he clocked a 4.47 in the short shuttle. He finished seventh in the state as a sophomore in the shot put.

Ross doesn't list a leader at this point, but he only lives 70 miles from Baton Rouge, giving the Tigers an intrinsic advantage that could be tough to overcome.

Closer to home, the Vols are serious suitors for the services of Somerville, Tenn., linebacker Ricky Holloway who earned all-state honors last season for Fayette Ware High School after recording 81 tackles, 14 for loss with 13 sacks, four forced fumbles and four recoveries. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound reportedly runs a 4.6 in the 40, has a 225 power clean, a 305 bench and a 500 pound squat. Besides having a last name that is prominent in UT football history, Holloway has the traits to help restore the school's reputation as Linebacker U. He's an authentic enforcer in the middle who could play on the outside at the next level. He sheds blockers and strikes with authority; takes good pursuit angles and has a very high RPM motor. Arkansas, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee has all offered from the SEC.

On the Junior College front, Tennessee is engaged in a battle for one of the biggest recruiting prizes in the Class of 2008. At stake is defensive end Brandon Sesay of the College of the Sequoias (California), who played his high school ball at Atlanta Douglas. Sesay checks in at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds and reportedly runs a 4.6. He signed with Georgia out of high school and was placed at Northwest Mississippi Community College in the fall of 2005. He transferred to Sequoias the next year and redshirted. He has since reopened the recruiting process and has received some 60 scholarship offers. He lists his favorites as Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee. Sesay will have two seasons to play after his fall campaign.

A rising star in the running back ranks is Michael Shaw of Trotwood, Ohio. The 6-foot, 185-pound prospect with 4.45 speed ran for just under 1,000 yards in 180 carries last season and scored 21 touchdowns. He also averaged 20 yards per catch for the Trotwood-Madison Rams. A versatile athlete, he benches 285 pounds, squats 425 and has a 35-inch vertical. He's also an outstanding student with 3.4 GPA and a score of 1550 on his SAT. Shaw holds offers from Nebraska, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Tennessee which he regards as his favorites. Among others to offer are Illinois, Iowa and Maryland.

Switching gears to basketball, the Vols are one of eight teams in contention for late bloomer Tyler Zeller of Washington, Ind., who recently reached the 7-foot mark and is still regarded as the nation's No. 8 ranked power forward according to Scout.com. He averaged 20 points and 10 boards as a junior and is listed as No. 25 prospect available in the Class of ‘08. Interestingly, he failed to make the school's junior varsity team as a ninth grader, but came back as a sophomore to average 16 points and eight boards per game for the varsity. Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Purdue and Tennessee are his current favorites. He expects to take official visits to five of those schools before announcing his decision.

This weekly recruiting feature is slated to run every Friday for the foreseeable future.


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