Homegrown help?

Tennessee football recruiters took a chance last February by giving a scholarship to a relatively obscure in-state defensive tackle, Montori Hughes of Murfreesboro Siegel High School.

If the Vols roll the dice on another homegrown D-tackle this February, the beneficiary just might be DeOnte Newsom.

Newsom, who attended the recent UT Senior Camp, certainly passes the eye test. At 6-3 and 285 pounds, he is an imposing physical specimen. He has the necessary quickness and strength, too, citing a 5.2 clocking over 40 yards and a 365-pound bench press.

Playing offensive guard and defensive tackle as a junior at Nashville Maplewood High School last fall, he earned all-metro and first-team all-region recognition. Although he is a strong blocker, he is convinced he'll concentrate on defense at the college level.

"Defensive tackle is my best position," he said. "I've got the size for a defensive tackle, and I'm aggressive enough."

Asked to describe his game, Newsom immediately replied, "Quick and aggressive."

Despite his heft and hard-nosed nature, Newsom believes stuffing the run is not his strong suit.

"The thing I do best is rush the passer," he said. "I'm a power rusher."

Newsom noted that North Carolina, Texas Tech, Ole Miss and Middle Tennessee are showing the most interest in him so far, with the Tar Heels already offering a scholarship.

Asked which schools he is most interested in, he laughed and replied, "All of 'em."

Newsom, who also showcased his skills in camps at Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt this summer, attended the UT camp along with Maplewood teammates Sam Hopper and James Stone, plus head coach Ralph Thompson. Hopper is an offensive line prospect and Stone a linebacker prospect.

After meeting Phillip Fulmer during the camp, Newsom described the Vols' head man as "a great guy." The prospect said his favorite part of the camp was the one-on-one drills

Newsom has not set any visits at this time, explaining that he prefers to "wait till fall."

Although he is unsure which schools he'll visit, Newsom knows precisely what attributes he's looking for in a college.

"I'm looking for a place with a good atmosphere, good people and a great campus," he said. "I want people I can communicate with."

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