Vols Draw a Full House

If you're a Big Orange fan who believes defense wins championships, and that it's what's up front that counts, well it looks like your ship has come in.

Five football prospects are expected on UT's campus this weekend for a visit, and all five are now or have once been Tennessee commitments, while three are junior college D-linemen that will be called upon to revive the Vols flagging gridiron fortunes.

That is if they like what they see of the Vols under Lane Kiffin and Kiffin likes what he sees of the prospects recruited by Phillip Fulmer's staff.

We do know Kiffin likes the only offensive player among the visitor, as he personally sought out running back Toney Williams of Alpharetta, Ga., to describe the role he sees him playing in the Vols new system. He pointed out how he liked to use the big back, small back combo i.e. Reggie Bush and Lendale White in a smash and dash duo.

That means the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Williams will often be used as a single back from where he will be running the ball, picking up blitzes and catching passes out of the backfield. That was like music to the ears of the four-star talent who is ranked the nation's No. 30 running back by Scout.com. It firmed up Williams commitment to the Vols, and the deal should be sealed by the time he leaves on Sunday.

Joining Williams as the other high school prospect visiting the Vols is Nigel Mitchell-Thornton, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker of Stone Mountain, Ga. Ranked the nation's No. 27 middle linebacker prospect by Scout.com, verbaled to UT Aug. 1, and has remained a solid commitment to Tennessee.

Heading up the junior college prospects slated to visit is defensive end/tackle Jonathan Hollins of College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calf. Listed at 6-foot-3, 280, Hollins is a four-star prospect who can slide inside or be ideal as a defensive end in a 3-5 alignment. His commitment to UT appears solid.

Much less solid, if committed at all, is Edwin Herbert, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle from San Francisco City College. Herbert visited North Carolina State recently and was at Arkansas last weekend. He'll split this weekend up between visits to Tennessee and Florida.

Clearly that makes Herbert a priority for a program aiming to challenge the Gators dominance of the East Division of the SEC. It might also be a good early gauge of the Monte Kiffin factor. The allure of playing for one of the most acclaimed coordinators in the of the history of the game could trump the appeal of Florida's No. 1 status.

The fifth prospect is Rae Sykes a defensive end who was rated a four-star prospect coming out of Alcoa in 200. He signed with Tennessee but didn't qualify and has spent the last two years in Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. At 6-foot-4, 255-pounds Sykes has 4.70 speed and the potential to become an outstanding rush end. A high school teammate of Brandon Warren, adding Sykes would give the Vols a strong Alcoa presence and automatic attraction to any prospect coming out of that prodigious program.

If the Vols and put together this full house, they'll have a winning hand in stud poker.

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