Tennessee Tries Recruiting Triple Play

It's ironic, as well as insightful, that during a recruiting year when Tennessee may not sign more than three prospects from the Volunteer State, it has apparently offered three scholarships to players from one Class-AAA school in Arkansas.

According to Warren High School head coach Bo Hembree, the Vols have extended offers and are in hopes of signing three Lumberjacks — wide receivers Bret Smith, Terrence Hampton and defensive back RoShaun Fellows.

Smith, 5-11, 175, 4.5, is the highest rated of this talented trio and the most versatile. Playing wide receiver as a junior, he compiled one of the most productive seasons in the nation, catching an incredible 103 passes for 1889 yards (18.3 yards per catch) and 23 touchdowns to lead Warren to a 15-0 record and the state championship. That averages out to nearly seven catches for 130 yards and 1.6 TDs per game. In one game against perennial state pigskin power Nashville, he had 12 receptions for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

This season Smith, who is rated No. 20 among the nation's wide receivers, has split his time between quarterback and wideout.

"He's playing more wide receiver now than he is at quarterback," said Hembree. "He's probably playing seven or eight snaps a game at quarterback and the rest at receiver right now. There's no doubt that he will be a wide receiver in college."

The move to quarterback hasn't diminished Smith as an offensive threat. Through 11 games he has passed for over 1,300 yards, run for over 900 and surpassed the 700-yard mark as a receiver. With the strong possibility of playing another three playoff games primarily as a wide receiver, Smith has a legitimate shot at going over the 1,000-yard mark in passing, running and receiving.

To fully appreciate just how dangerous Smith is on the gridiron, consider his performance in the first round playoff game against Fouke when he caught six passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns, rushed 10 times for 70 yards and two touchdowns and returned two punts for 80 yards. On defense in that 40-7 playoff victory, Smith made 11 unassisted tackles from his safety post and intercepted a pass.

"Bret put on a show," Hembree said of Smith's single-game spectacular. "He showed why he's all-everything."

Most 29 year-old head coaches with three years on the job and a state title in the pocket would be content with a single triple-threat, but Hembree is blessed with a bounty of big-play prospects.

"There are three players on our team that the University of Tennessee and a lot of other schools are interested in," said Hembree. "RoShaun Fellows and Terrence Hampton are the other two."

Fellows, 6-1, 185, 4.41, plays safety and wide receiver for the Lumberjacks and projects as a cornerback in college. He may be one of the nation's most underrated prospects given that he's rated one star by The Insiders on a scale of zero to four, despite having offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi, Missouri and Mississippi State among others.

As a junior, Fellows caught 59 passes for 944 yards and 14 touchdowns. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown and averaged 21 yards per return. On defense, he picked off 10 passes and took one to the house. What's most impressive about Fellows is the unique combination of size and speed he brings to the corner in addition to outstanding coverage skills.

"Tennessee has offered Fellows a scholarship and I think he's pretty much leaning to them," said Hembree. "He hasn't taken a visit yet, but he's set it up for some time in January."

Hampton, 5-11, 195, 4.45, has over 1,000 yards in receptions this season and is ranked No. 60 nationally by The Insiders. Hembree describes Hampton as a "big-play type guy" with solid skills.

"Tennessee and Arkansas have offered," said Hampton. "I also like Ole Miss, Florida and Oklahoma State. I'm waiting until after our season ends before setting my visits. I plan to wait until after my visits before making my decision."

Hampton still has some work to do in the classroom while Fellows needs one-point on his ACT and Smith is fully qualified.

"Terrence has to still get qualified," Hembree stated. "Bret is already qualified and RoShaun has the core, but he lacks one point on the ACT right now. He's only taken it once so he'll probably get it the next time around. If Terrence gets qualified, he can go anywhere he wants to go because Florida has already offered and a lot of the other big name schools are just waiting to see if he gets qualified.

"Smith has been offered by about everybody in the nation. They've all been offered by Tennessee."

Smith, who doesn't have a current favorite, is considering Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi after also entertaining offers from Michigan and UCLA. Hampton lists Arkansas as his leader ahead of Tennessee and Florida while Fellows favors the Vols.

This awesome threesome has led Warren to an 11-1 record this season and Arkansas' No. 1 Class-3A ranking. The Lumberjacks only loss was to Class-5A Springdale in the season opener.

The prospect of these prospects going to the same school as a package is intriguing albeit, seemingly, remote. Still it's something few schools have failed to use as a selling point.

"All the college coaches are trying to get all three to the same school," said Hembree. "We just want to get our season over first and they can start looking closer at their options."

Tennessee has had a lot of recent success with Arkansas athletes such as sophomore Cedric Houston and true freshman Greg Jones, who followed Reggie Coleman and Leslie Ratliff.

Now the Vols have a chance to add another outstanding Arkansas athlete, or two, or three.

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