99.9 Percent Sure

Whether he's a heavy lean or a soft verbal, linebacker prospect Herman Lathers of Baton Rouge, La., appears to be headed to Tennessee.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound, is rated the nation's No. 39 best weakside linebacker. He completed his senior season at Scottlandville Magnet High School with 108 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumble and an interception he returned for a touchdown. He also ran for a score in limited duty on offense. That followed a breakout junior campaign in which he recorded 96 tackles and 14 sacks.

Lathers is an exceptionally quick linebacker with a nose for the football and 4.53 speed in the 40. He has a nonstop motor and is physical at the point of attack.

He reportedly committed to UT defensive coordinator John Chavis shortly after his official visit to campus on Nov. 2. However he has not officially committed and doesn't plan to until national signing day in February.

"A few days after I got back from my trip I called (linebacker) coach John Chavis and told him that's where I want to go," Lathers told Scout.com's Allen Wallace. "I committed to him. They were showing me the most love the whole time and I really like them."

Between now and then Lathers indicated to Wallace that he will take other visits. He has one set to Tulane on Jan. 18 and to Ole Miss in sometime in January. He seemed to greet the news of Houston Nutt's hiring in Oxford as a positive that could pique his interest in the Rebels. Both Alabama and LSU have shown an interest in Lathers but he hasn't received an offer from either school. As things currently stand UT is his school of choice.

"I'd say I'm a lock, but I'm still taking visits," told Wallace. "I won't make a final announcement until Signing Day, but it's like 99.9 percent that I'm going to Tennessee."

"Tennessee is a family. That's really my favorite thing about them. They really stick together and have each other's back. I really got along well with all the guys on the team, especially the linebackers. Also it's crazy there during a game. It's one of the biggest crowds I've ever seen. They have a lot of support. I'm set on Tennessee, but I just want to explore and see what else there is. The coaches know and said they understand. They told me to go out and be sure."

Lathers reports a 3.8 core GPA and a score of 17 on his ACT. He plans to retake the ACT on Dec. 8.

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