Vols Land 4-Star Tackle

When Lane Kiffin was introduced as UT's next head coach he talked about the importance of keeping the state's best high school players in Tennessee and how he would go wherever the talent dictates. He hit the road recruiting that same afternoon and has walked the walk ever since.

After keeping top cornerback prospect Eric Gordon in the Volunteer State and away from Alabama with his first recruiting triumph, Kiffin got his second prospect, defensive tackle Authur Jeffery, out of the Sunshine State on Thursday.

A two-way starter for Booker High School in Sarasota, Jeffery had a standout junior season in which he recorded 74 tackles, 24 stops for losses with 11 sacks, five blocked kicks and four forced fumbles. He was voted his area's Defensive Player of the Year by league coaches.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Jeffery was set up for an even better senior season, but he suffered a torn AC and MCL in September that required surgery. Despite the setback, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida Atlantic and South Florida continued to recruit him aggressively, while some of the other schools that had offered like Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and Florida took a more wait-and-see approach.

The Vols' patience and persistence paid off when Jeffery committed. He expects to be fully recovered and healthy enough to compete for playing time next fall. He has 4.9 speed and excellent quickness. Scout.com's Scott Kennedy described Jeffery as follows.

"A hugely athletic line prospect, Jeffery plays offensive tackle and defensive tackle for his Booker team. He has quick feet and is flexible. He commands a double team on nearly every play when he's on defense, and he'll need to learn to keep his pads lower and play with more leverage. He has the size, effort, and athletic ability to be a star on offense or defense on the next level."

Jeffery is ranked the nation's No. 16 defensive tackle by Scout.com. He is the third four-star defensive lineman the Vols have picked up this week, joining JUCO standouts Jonathan Hollins and Rae Sykes. He is the Vols 17th commitment to the Vols Class of 2009 and the fourth D-lineman.

To this point the Vols have committed prospects from 12 different states. The week's haul gives Kiffin and his skeleton staff some momentum going into the non-contact period next week which will provide time to complete most, if not all, of his coaching staff.

A strong finish and a top 10 signing class are not a stretch, but it would be a marvelous recovery.

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