Brent Vinson cleared to enroll

Tennessee's much-maligned wide receiver corps just got a big shot in the arm ... at least potentially. A top prospect has been cleared academically to enroll at UT after completing a year of prep school.

Brent Vinson, a 6-2, 190-pound speedster, was one of the Vols' top signees in February of 2006 but did not qualify for admission. A native of Hampton, Va., he decided to remain in-state and enroll at Hargrave Military Academy in hopes of upgrading his academic standing.

The news on Vinson, reported in today's editions of The Tennessean, comes one day after UT announced it will admit basketball player Tyler Smith, an Iowa transfer who also spent a year at Hargrave. Like Smith, Vinson plans to begin summer school classes on Monday.

Vinson is the ultimate in "upside." He never played football until his junior year of high school but has shown enough in the three years since then to convince many college scouts he could be special.

Vinson just might provide the big-play dimension the Vols appear to be missing after losing underclassman Robert Meachem to the recent NFL Draft. In a game against West Virginia's junior varsity squad last fall Vinson recorded more than 350 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Big numbers are nothing new to Vinson, who compiled more than 1,200 receiving yards, 400 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Phoebus High School. He also returned two interceptions and four punts for TDs that fall.

While the news on Vinson is good, the news on four of the 27 players Tennessee signed last February is not so good. According to The Tennessean, not qualifying for admission were defensive ends Rae Sykes of Alcoa and Cory Hall of Chattanooga, defensive tackle Rolando Melancon of Gramercy, La., and defensive back Dashaun Barnes of Tallahassee, Fla.

All four are expected to attend junior college or prep school in hopes of eventually playing Div. 1 football.

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