Vols offer Malik Stokes

Tennessee may be closing in on securing perhaps the most talented passing combo in all of high school football … while keeping it all in the family.

The Vols, who already have a commitment from rising senior Je'Ron Stokes, a five-star receiver from Northeastern High in Philadelphia, extended a scholarship offer this weekend to his younger brother Malik, Northeastern's rising junior quarterback.

"They offered him while we were down here," Je'Ron said moments after Tennessee's Senior Camp concluded this afternoon.

Though flattered, Malik isn't ready to pull the trigger just yet.

"It's one of his first offers," Je'Ron said. "He's still young, and he wants to go through the process, but he likes Tennessee."

Malik cannot possibly like Tennessee much more than his older brother does. Je'Ron was so pumped after visiting the UT campus earlier this spring that he committed on April 6.

"I love everything Tennessee has to offer," Je'Ron said. "That's why I committed here. It's the best place to be."

Big-time prospects usually push the recruiting process right up to Signing Day in February. Not Stokes. He trimmed 10 months off the process by committing in April, and he has no second thoughts about his decision whatsoever.

"It's like finding the perfect thing; you don't want to wait any longer," he said. "I was impressed with some other places but when I came here I just fell in love. I prayed about it, then I decided to be the first one (commitment) in '09."

The other finalists for Stokes' services, he says, were Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Penn State.

Although he's barely recovered from a recent leg injury, Stokes wanted to attend UT's Senior Camp and take part in a few of the workouts.

"I did a little bit of the drills," he said. "I ran a few routes … just so the staff could see me, see what I bring."

Were Vol coaches pleased with their first up-close look?

"Of course," Stokes replied pleasantly. "It was better for them, seeing me in person."

The opportunity to perform some drills under the direction of UT receivers coach Latrell Scott for the first time proved to be an interesting and enjoyable experience.

"I'm going to love working for Coach Scott," Stokes said. "He's going to get me better. It's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting. It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm ready for the challenge."

Ranked No. 8 among America's receiver prospects by Scout.com, the 6-1, 180-pounder has speed to burn. He says he was running the 40-yard dash in the 4.4 range prior to his injury. Perhaps he can provide the home-run threat Tennessee has been lacking since Robert Meachem turned pro following the 2006 season.

"They've got a couple of guys who can do that here," Stokes said, "but I bring something different."

Despite his big-time reputation, Stokes is not content being one of the best receiver prospects in America. He's determined to maximize his potential. That's why he's tenacious, as well as talented.

"I bring hard work and a dominating mentality," he said. "I'm someone who's going to give his all every play. I'm someone who's always looking to get better … to be the best I can be.

"The world hasn't seen the best of me yet. Every day I'm working. In my four years here, I'll get it done."

Best of all, he may "get it done" with some help from his brother.


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