Hot 100 Ushers Summer

With the official start of summer just three days away and the countdown to the 2007 football season only 80 days, or approximately 1,964 hours from this writing the timing of Scout.com's national Hot 100 list couldn't be better.

The same can't be said of UT's impact on that elite group of high school gridiron greats. However the Vols are contending for some of the biggest names still in play and are in position for a strong finish. Much of that may depend on the success Tennessee enjoys early in its 12-game schedule which is front loaded with formidable foes and hostile venues.

In the last edition of the Hot 100 a full half (50) of the blue chip club was already committed to a college. (So much for long courtship.) Unfortunately none were pledged to Tennessee. In the latest edition released by Scout.com on Monday, 47 were committed with the Vols still stuck at zero.

However Georgia now has two of the Hot 100's five-star talents in A.J. Green of Summerville, S.C., who is No. 6 overall and the No. 2 wideout prospect in the Class of 2008. The Bulldogs also have a verbal from defensive tackle Deangelo Tyson of Statesboro, Ga., who checks in at No. 17 overall and is the top ranked prospect at his position. The third prospect from the Hot 100 in the Dogs' ledger is No. 89 Richard Samuel, of Cartersville, Ga.

Also breaking into the plus column is Florida with 6-foot-3, 205-pound safety Dee Finley of Auburn, Ala., who is ranked No. 44 overall and the nation's No. 3 safety prospect. Those are the only four members of the current Hot 100 committed to SEC schools — which makes the loss of Finley to the Gators particularly galling for Auburn faithful.

That's one indignity Tennessee fans don't have to worry about because there's not any prospect from the Volunteer State in the current Hot 100. In the spring edition Brentwood running back/linebacker Chris Jordan was listed at No. 67, but he's nowhere to be found in Monday's rankings. That means the Vols will have to go into enemy territory to make their mark.

Of the nine Hot 100 prospects with which Tennessee is listed among their favorites two are in Pennsylvania, two in Florida and one each in West Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina and Delaware.

The top-ranked prospect on Tennessee's board is No. 1 rated defensive end Shayne Hale of Monroeville, Penn., who is listed No. 8 overall. The competitors include: Florida, LSU, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Virginia.

Next comes Marcus Forston of Miami, Fla, the No. 2 rated defensive tackle in the land and No. 19 prospect overall. His favorites are Auburn, Clemson, Miami, Minnesota, Tennessee and USC. Forston is followed by another Keystone State prospect Lucas Nix of Clairton, who is listed at No. 27 overall and No. 3 among offensive tackles. His other favorites are Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Notre Dame.

The Vols are also in the picture for super sized wideout DeAndre Brown of Ocean Springs, Miss., a five-star prospect who is ranked No. 35 overall and No. 5 at his position. LSU, Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina are also in it.

Although Alabama has also been blanked on Hot 100 prospects to this point of the recruiting process, the influence of Nick Saban at head coach is reflected on list as the Tide is among the favorites of 13 prospects from the Hot 100 featuring the nation's No. 1 wide receiver (No. 3 overall) Julio Jones of Foley, Ala., and the No. 2 ranked QB (No. 10 overall) E.J. Manuel of Virginia Beach.

That pales in comparison to defending national champion Florida which is a player for 34 of the remaining 53 Hot 100 talents that remain undeclared, including the top five overall and 11 five-star prospects.

The big winner to this point is Ohio State with seven Hot 100 commitments followed by Oklahoma, USC and Texas with five each and Notre Dame with four.


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