Back in the Hunt?

Georgia pledge Toby Jackson, a four-star defensive end from Griffin, Ga., is back in play and Tennessee is back in the hunt along with a host of other SEC powers.

Rated the nation's No. 15 player at his position by Scout.com analysts, Jackson remains a Bulldog commitment, but has decided to take official visits this fall.

"I haven't scheduled any visits yet, but I plan to take all five of them," he told Scout.com's Andrew Bone. "I know right now I will take one to Georgia and Alabama. I don't know about the other three.

"I like Georgia a lot. They have a nice program and school. I am strong on my commitment, but I am still open. I am going to allow myself to get recruited throughout my senior season."

Also vying for one of Jackson's visits are Auburn, Florida, Tennessee and Florida State, while Clemson remains a fringe contender.

As a junior the 6-foot-4, 240-pound prospect recorded 73 tackles, including 12 for losses with six sacks. Blessed with good speed and exceptional quickness, Jackson is a force to be reckoned with coming off the edge. Additionally, his upside is extremely high which accounts for the unrelenting interest from high-profile programs despite his status as a UGA verbal.

Jackson made an unofficial visit to Tennessee in the spring and expressed interest in returning for an official tour of the campus. The Oct. 6 SEC encounter with the Bulldogs would seem to be an ideal date for such a visit.

While Jackson's interest in visiting other schools is most likely genuine, the fact he is being recruited by Rodney Garner raises red flags. In the past Garner has been accused of encouraging prospects bound for Athens to engage competing schools at a cost of time and energy that could be better allocated in the pursuit of other players. With Georgia's two biggest rivals for SEC East dominance also involved in the chase for Jackson, the potential for such a ploy can't be dismissed out of hand.

Granted it's a scenario that sounds farfetched but stranger things have happened in the world of college football recruiting, and anytime Garner is deep in the mix beware the fix.

In other recruiting news: • Tennessee's interest in inside linebackers seems to be inordinately high considering the Vols run a 4-3 defense. The latest to pop up on their radar screen is Miami's Etienne Sabino, a 6-2, 230, five-star prospect with 4.65 speed who is ranked No. 6 at his position nationally by Scout.com. The Vols have a commitment from Austin Johnson, and are leading for Brady Roussel of Baton Rouge. They have also offered T.J. Pridemore of Buford, Ga., and Ricky Holloway of Somerville, Tenn.

• With tight end Aaron Douglas committed, UT is seeking to add at least one other prospect at that position. The Vols lead for Lavar Edwards of Baton Rouge, and remain in contention for Mark Wedderburn of Springfield, Pa., who currently favors Penn State. At 6-3, 284, Edwards has the size and blocking technique to make an early impact on the next level.

• The Vols have offered a pair of defensive backs from the same Atco, N.J., high school (Winslow Township). They are: Tyrone McBride a 6-1, 205 safety, who is the cousin of former Vol Turk McBride and Reuben Johnson, a 5-9, 175 corner with 4.4 speed. UConn, Iowa and Syracuse have also offered both prospects.

Donte Rumph, a 6-3, 250, defensive end from Calhoun County High School in Saint Matthews, S.C. appears destined to wear orange in college, as he is deciding between Tennessee and Clemson. He also holds an offer from Virginia Tech and is being recruited by Notre Dame, North Carolina and South Carolina.

• Over recent years, Tennessee has struck sleeper's gold in Virginia with the acquisition of such underrated prospects as Marvin Mitchell, Antwan Stewart and Brent Vinson. Keep an eye on Marcus Davis of Virginia Beach, who played several positions for Ocean Lakes High School last year which probably hurt his stock. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound athlete runs a 4.5 and could become a standout receiver on the next level, although some schools like him at quarterback.

• No one can accuse Coach Phillip Fulmer of lacking faith in his players. He recently said he would take his top three running backs over any set of RBs in the SEC. Even before the suspension of LaMarcus Coker the comment raised eyebrows, especially in Arkansas which boasts the incomparable trio of Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis. Interestingly, the Vols recruited all three of those standouts and could have probably signed Jones, but backed off late after securing the services of Montario Hardesty. Jones rushed for 1,168 yards last year and averaged 7.6 yards per carry. However McFadden and Hillis were Arkansas bound from the get-go.


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