UT Seeks QB Keeper

While the Vols have been doing well on the recruiting front, adding a couple of Grade A play-makers in JeRon Stokes and Damien Thigpen and a big blocking back, Dominique Allen, who also poses an inside running threat, however the search for a signal caller continues.

Tennessee saw its top two QB prospects come off the board after No. 8 ranked Aaron Murray, of Tampa, Fla., eliminated UT along with LSU, Mississippi and Notre Dame in favor of UCLA, Georgia and Florida. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound, four-star talent completed 201-of-329 attempts for 4,012 yards, with an outstanding TD to INT ratio of 51 to 7 as a junior. He is estimated to have received 52 scholarship offers.

The day before Murray cut his field of contenders to three, No. 11 rated quarterback prospect Tom Savage of Springfield, Pa., chose Rutgers over Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Pittsburgh and Tennessee. At 6-5, 220, the strong-armed task master was one of the better pro style passers available in the Class of 2009.

The Vols offered west coast wonder boy Matt Berkley, the nation's No. 1 ranked signal caller by Scout.com, before he elected to stay in California and play for USC.

The only other offer the Vols are known to have extended to a quarterback prospect from the Class of 2009 is Tahj Boyd of Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va., who committed to West Virginia in March. At 6-2, 210, and with 4.57 speed Boyd is an excellent dual threat QB and has enough athletic ability to play at several positions. He is currently ranked No. 21 at his position nationally.

Tennessee isn't listed as a favorite for any other quarterback prospect, nor has it extended any known offers to any other QB prospects.

With four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster it's not a pressing need at the moment. However incoming freshman Casey Kelly could be taken high enough in June's MLB Draft to make it tempting to forego college. If he doesn't sign with a Major League team he can't be drafted again until after his junior season. That latter scenario would put him on The Hill for three seasons which is enough time to determine if his future can be better realized on the diamond or the gridiron.

Otherwise the Vols field generals are staggered with Jonathan Crompton having two years of eligibility, Nick Stephens has three years and B. J. Coleman has four years remaining. Each of those players redshirted as a freshmen. If Kelly opts for college he'll also likely draw a redshirt in 2008.

Additionally the Vols used Gerald Jones successfully in the G-Gun package, and Eric Berry got a few direct snaps this spring to display ability to make things happen. Since both players spent much of their high school careers behind the center Jones and Berry know how to throw and can beat any defense that sells out to the run.

The Vols have shown some interest in Battle Ground Academy quarterback Jamal Ramsey. An athletic signal caller with good size 6-3, 190, and 4.6 speed, Ramsey has an offer from Cincinnati and is expecting offers from Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. He also starts at safety for BGA as well as small forward on the basketball team. Ramsey visited Louisville recently and has visited the Queen City.

No doubt other candidates will emerge from the Class of 2009. We'll continue to monitor UT's quarterback chase should the Vols renew it.


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