Fullback to the Future

On a day when Tennessee unveiled a new offense — the result of the first major system overhaul in two decades — it also paid homage to the power football of its past by committing a classic sledgehammer fullback to help clear the way to the future.

At 6-foot, 250 pounds, Dominique Allen brings a big body, a hard-nosed style and a blue collar approach to a position that demands toughness of body and mind and strength of spirit.

His commitment is another strong indication the Vols' new offense will feature the fullback in a prominent role. The Henry County native follows Kevin Cooper of Baylor School in Chattanooga, who signed with the Vols in 2007, and Ben Bartholomew of Nashville MBA, who signed with UT in 2008 as strong contenders for playing time the next four years.

The fact Allen is agile enough to play tailback means he brings the ability to pop a big play when he's not popping big linebackers. He gained over 1,600 yards and scored an eye-popping 32 touchdowns to earn Class-4A All-State honors.

Allen was holding scholarship offers from Wake Forest, Mississippi State and Wake Forest and was getting strong interest from Miami and Ole Miss among others. But he decided to cut the chase and accept Tennessee's offer which came on Saturday after the annual Orange and White Game. "I'm just a Tennessee boy," Allen told Dave Hooker in a Knoxville News Sentinel story. "It wasn't about getting it (his recruitment) over with.

"I've been a Tennessee fan since I was a young 'un. I made the decision and I'm happy with the decision I made."

Allen, who was recruited by Tennessee's tight end coach Jason Michael, was reportedly impressed with the look of the offense, coordinated by Dave Clawson in his D-I public debut, and could see how he would fit into the system.

Allen joins JeRon Stokes a wide receiver from Northeast High School in Philadelphia, Pa., ranked No. 5 nationally at his position as the second commitment to UT's Class of 2009.

ANOTHER VISITOR

Also on hand for the Orange and White Game was Anthony Orr, a 6-foot-4, 261-pound defensive end/tackle from Sparkman High School in Harvest, Ala.

Tennessee has offered Orr and he also has offers from Alabama, Auburn and Clemson. In an interview with Scout.com analyst Andrew Bone he sounded impressed by his Orange and White experience.

"The visit to Tennessee went great," Orr said. "I liked their spring game. I was very impressed. They had about 20-30,000 fans at the game."

"The player who really stood out to me was the defensive end, Wes Brown. He is from Athens. I thought he did good."

Orr, who runs a 4.8 and could play either end or tackle at the collegiate level, also got to visit with Tennessee's defensive coordinator and head coach while in Knoxville.

"I talked to my recruiting coach [John Chavis] and coach [Phillip] Fulmer. They told me they liked me, and I fit well with their program. They only have four defensive ends on scholarship, and one is a senior. It was my first time to meet them. I liked them a lot. They were straight up with me on everything."

"I know it's a good school. I like their football program especially the defense."

It's a defense in need of depth and strength on the line expecially at defensive tackle, which appears to be Orr's eventual destination.


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