No. 4 QB Tops Guest List

Nick Saban and his No. 2 ranked Crimson Tide aren't the only big names visiting Tennessee Saturday, the Volunteers are also hosting an elite list of high-caliber prospects with marquee potential.

The headliner is five-star quarterback Tajh Boyd of Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound quick silver QB, who has 4.57 speed, was pulled into UT's gravity by a series of unexpected events.

He probably topped UT's recruiting board early on due to his versatility, mobility and ability to run variations of the spread the Vols were beginning to incorporate in their first major offensive overhaul in two decades.

Ranked the nation's No. 4 quarterback in the Class of 2009, Boyd committed to West Virginia last March but decided to reopen the recruiting process two weeks ago.

Meanwhile the Vols, who saw four-star quarterback Josh Nunes of Upland, Calif., renounce his commitment in September and later commit to Stanford, were in the market for a QB when Boyd came back on the market. Now this signal caller saga could have a serendipitous conclusion for the Vols if Boyd decides UT is the place to launch his college career.

Of course the task won't be easy as a cadre of competitors are in the chase, including West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Maryland, Michigan and Wake Forest. He visited the Mountaineers on Sept. 26, and Tennessee is the only other official he has set to this point.

However Tennessee will need to show signs of upward mobility and offensive cohesion, two factors that soured Boyd on West Virginia. However he has indicated he won't make any quick decisions this time around. That gives the Vols time and opportunity to make their case.

And they say the key to the west coast offense is great timing.


Tajh Boyd is the biggest name on this weekend's star-studded guest list, but the biggest in terms of size is Morgan Moses, a 6-foot-7, 332-pound behemoth of an O-lineman from Richmond, Va. Moses is said to run a 5.20 and ranked the nation's No. 9 offensive tackle prospect by He bench presses 380 pounds and squats 460.

Coincidentally, Alabama is one of the schools Moses is considering along with Florida, Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, which he visited Sept. 26. UT's offensive coordinator Dave Clawson was head coach at the University of Richmond which could help in the pursuit of Moses.

Another prospect considering both of Saturday's SEC combatants is Chris Bonds, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound, defensive end of Richland Northeast High School in Columbia, S.C. He visited Bama last week and hasn't set any other visits yet. Ranked the No. 18 prospect at his position this four-star talent is also looking at Florida State, Notre Dame, South Carolina and USC. Bonds reportedly bench presses 325 pound and squats 425 pounds. He runs a 4.80 and has a 34-inch vertical leap. He also boasts a 3.2 core GPA and a 1580 on his SAT.

The third member of this four-star trio visiting campus for the Bama game is perhaps the most intriguing, particularly in a conference that has installed speed as the gold standard. Branden Smith of Washington High School in Atlanta, Ga., runs an eye-popping time of 4.28 in the 40.

The 5-11, 170-pound blazer is rated the nation's No. 7 cornerback but could also play wide receiver at the next level. He ran a 10.62 100-meter time last spring and is referred to as the fastest man in Atlanta. Perhaps the best measure of his extreme quickness is the unheard of 3.90 short shuttle he recorded at the Atlanta combine.

Smith was considering Alabama but recently narrowed his final five to Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Auburn. He visited Gainesville two weeks ago and has visits set for Auburn (Nov. 15), FSU (Nov. 18) and to Georgia (Dec. 12).

Clearly the Bama-Tennessee game could have as much impact on the future as it has in 2008.

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