Double Talk

It's often talked about; the type of recruiting banter that's intriguing in theory and fleeting in reality. It's hardly worth mentioning but impossible to ignore especially among brethren of the same faith.

We're talking about the two-for-one, the daily double, the package deal. Why it holds such sway over the many Recruitnik Nations of the vast Internet is as mysterious as it is undeniable. Perhaps it appeals to the bargain hunter in all of us, or maybe it's just a statistical oddity that opens a window onto the world of possibilities.

Whatever it is, it's unusual enough for two players from the same high school to both get Division I scholarships in the same year, much less sign with the same school. And it's most rare if two players from the same high school sign with the same out-of-state school at the same time.

With that caveat in place, it's incumbent upon this service to point out that it could happen to Tennessee this season. Part one of the equation took place Thursday when the Vols picked up a commitment from Steven Fowlkes, a defensive end/H-back prospect of College Park, Ga.

Now they would love to add his Benneker High School teammate, Darrell Simmons, a 6-foot-2, 201, safety, who runs a 4.50 and is ranked No. 37 at his position by

A more accurate measure of his relative worth in the marketplace can be gleaned from his Who's Who list of offers which features: Miami, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida and Tennessee. He was also offered by Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, Southern Cal, Clemson, Purdue and Maryland. Virginia Tech offered him as a sophomore. In total he collected over 30 scholarship offers, and that number is sure to climb once his season gets under way.

Simmons, who compares his size and style of play to former Hurricane All-American and current NFL star Sean Taylor, has recently said childhood favorite Miami was his leader. However he indicates Alabama is his most intense suitor.

Where that leaves Tennessee is anybody's guess, but he expresses interest in the Vols despite missing a scheduled visit to Knoxville last weekend. Plus the commitment of Fowlkes can't hurt UT's chances.

"I was supposed to visit Tennessee last weekend, but wasn't able to make it," he told Allen Wallace of this week. "But I really like the program there. Eric Berry (Vols freshman defensive back) is my home boy. I grew up with him and we're really close. He says that the Tennessee coaches are really hands-on and that I would love it there.

"He says that the transition from high school to college isn't that bad, but that college is all about speed and hard work. He says that you have to work hard every single day."

Splitting his time between quarterback and safety as a junior, he recorded 89 tackles including eight for losses with two sacks and an interception. He picked up over 1.500 all-purpose yards.

With a 245-pound bench press and 350 squat he has good strength with room for improvement. The name of his game is athleticism and instincts. He has a 32-inch vertical and plays a solid center field. He will need to work on his technique to be battle ready to cover slot receivers man-to-man on the next level.

It's difficult to say if Fowlkes' commitment to the Vols will influence Simmons' decision. Even if it does entice him to join his teammate on The Hill it's not a scholarship free pickup. However for a team that ranges as far geographically as Tennessee does to sign prospects, getting two from one school in a rival state is a noteworthy achievement.

Particularly when they are as much in demand as Fowlkes and Simmons are.

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