Vols Eye Keystone Combo

Savage to Stokes has a nice ring to it, and Tennessee would like to turn that fantasy connection into a reality by landing the nation's No. 11 QB prospect to go with the No. 5 wide receiver as the first two members of the Vols' Class of 2009.

The fact Tom Savage and Je'Ron Stokes are already fast friends means this isn't such a far-flung scenario. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound signal caller from Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pa., is looking to commit early and he went to camp at UT last summer. The Vols made an offer to Savage one week before Stokes committed.

While that make for intriguing possibilities it is far from conclusive. Savage has a long list of suitors including three from the SEC. He made a visit to Georgia last weekend and has garnered offers from LSU, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia, Miami, North Carolina State, Florida State, Boston College, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville, Rutgers and Stanford.

"They (Vols) offered me back on the 28th and I talked to Coach (Dave) Clawson the other day who knows my coach really well," Savage told Scout.com's Matt Alkire. "I was there for camp last summer and thought the campus and stadium were awesome. Head Coach Phil Fulmer is a great guy as well. I know Je'Ron committed today and that's my boy, so I'm happy for him. We have talked about going to school together and it would be awesome to have a great friend in college already, but we're both going to make the right decisions for ourselves."

A classic drop back passer with a strong arm and quick release, Savage played in a wing-T offense which limits his throwing opportunities. As a sophomore he threw for approximately 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns with seven interceptions. An injury cost him half of his junior campaign and he finished with 909 yards on 136 attempts and eight touchdowns.

Healthy again and with a new passing offense installed at O'Hara, Savage, who runs a 4.8, should see a sharp rise in his statistical totals as a senior. In order to fully focus on the fall campaign he wants to get the recruiting process out of the way.

To that end he is already trimming his list of finalists to a manageable number. Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers and Tennessee appear to have made the initial cut.

Judging from his comments about his visit to Athens, the Dogs might be the team to beat.

"I went down to Georgia this weekend and had a great time," Savage told Alkire. "I got to hang out with Matthew Stafford all night on Friday and he's a really cool guy who has an absolute cannon for an arm. He took me for a little tour of the campus which was really nice and then we went downtown for a while to see what there was to do around there.

"On Saturday I watched their spring game and the place was absolutely packed with fans," Savage said. "Let me tell you, they eat, breathe and sleep Georgia football down there. I got to talk to Head Coach Mark Richt for a while about the quarterback situation and his family life and just really like the coaching staff a lot there."

The Vols have pursued QB prospects in the past from the state most noted for producing great quarterbacks i.e. Johnny Unitas, Joe Nammath, Dan Marino and Joe Montana among many others, but has yet to sign one. Savage could be the start of something big.


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