Vols Alive for No. 3 Tight End

A slow start, major staff turnover and a series off-the-field incidents all contributed to Tennessee's disappointing 2008 signing class, but it also set the stage for what is looking more and more like a bounce back campaign.

Not only have the Vols already committed 13 prospects, they're in on a five players with five-star ratings and have rallied to get back in contention for No. 3 ranked tight end Logan Thomas of Lynchburg, Va. Tennessee made some early progress with the 6-foot-6, 230-pound receiver who boasts 4.6 speed and a fabulous 44-inch vertical leap.

That feat was performed the the Under Armour/ Scout.com Combine in Baltimore. In that same combine he demonstrated great hands, body control along with the ability to make tough catches in the crowd. He could play an H-back or tight end and could even line up in the slot as a wide receiver. His skill level is on a par with Jason Witten at the same stage of development.

Obviously Thomas would bring a dimension to the position UT hasn't had at its disposal since Witten was terrorizing SEC secondaries with his 4.5 speed, 6-6 frame and soft hands. That the Vols are among seven teams to make his most recent cut is testimony to their persistence.

"Recruiting is getting a bit stressful, so I decided to cut my list to seven schools and just start focusing on them," Thomas told Matt Alkire of SuperPrep.com. "The seven programs I'll be focusing on from now on are Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Clemson in no particular order. I plan to continue to narrow the list over the next month or two."

Thomas shares something else in common with Witten in that he has made his name in high school at a different position than what he is being recruited for by colleges. Witten was widely sought as a defensive end. He played linebacker in high school and tight end around the goal line. As a junior, Thomas played quarterback for Brookville High School, throwing for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed for 600 yards and another eight TDs to earn first team All-Distrcit and All-Region honors.

Thomas will again line up behind center for his senior season, but most analysts believe his athletic ability and understanding of offensive football will enable him to make a quick transition to the H-back/tight end role on the collegiate level.

When asked by Kevin Kinder of Blue and Gold News what he was looking for from a college, Thomas said: "The coaching staff is important to me, and it has to be a school that I fell good about and want to spend four years at. The football is important too, and I want to play against great competition."

Thomas carries a reported 3.4 GPA and plans to major in communications or sports management. He hopes to narrow his list to five schools before the end of the month and said he will take five official visits in the fall. He could cut those visits short if he finds a school that fits his needs and meets his comfort standards.

Tennessee can offer bigger crowds, more exposure and greater competition than Thomas can find at his other finalists. Throw in plenty of playing time in an exciting offense and the only thing the Vols need to do is make him comfortable for Thomas to make himself at home.

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