Roll Out Orange Carpet

With Tennessee's football coaching lineup once again at full staff and another scholarship suddenly available to offer, the Vols are primed for a big push with only three weekends left before national signing day and a plethora of prime time prospects prepared for visits.

The staff was completed the last two days with the hiring of Lance Thompson from Alabama's staff on Thursday and the addition today of Willie Mack Garza, Frank Wilson and Eddie Gran formerly of the staffs of North Dakota State, Southern Miss and Auburn, respectively. Whether these new members of the staff will be on hand this weekend is unknown but, they will now be known to prospects and the Vols should be up to speed in short order.

The scholarship was freed up when UT announced it was no longer recognizing the commitment of D.J. Hunter, a cornerback from Middletown, Ohio, who has,reportedly, been arrested twice in the last six months. The Vols now have 16 commitments and may add as many as 10 to 12 more over the next 19 days leading up to national signing day on Feb. 4.

The number will largely depend on the quality of the prospects available. Kiffin & Co. could decide to hold scholarships for the Class of 2010 which they can better appraise, identify and pursue given a full year as opposed to three weeks.

This weekend's visitors includes some solid keepers including four the Vols already have committed in Eric Gordon, Arthur Jeffrey, Zach Rogers and Aubrey Phillips. Hunter was also scheduled to visit before the decision to drop his commitment.

Scheduled to join those prospects are Memphis Melrose linebacker Greg King (No. 30 SLB), No. 5 offensive guard prospect Peter White of St. John University High School, No. 13 strong-side linebacker Willie Ferrell of Florida A&M University High School in Tallahassee, Fla., and finally No. 13 ranked tight end Zaccheus Mason of Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville. Gordon and Rogers are also from Nashville. Jeffery is from Sarasota, Fla., which corresponds with Ferrell's home base and Phillips transferred from Memphis Briarcrest across the border to Olive Branch HIgh School in Mississippi. White attends the same high school as UT linebacker Rico McCoy.

A late addition to the Vols visit list is Pearlie Graves, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive tackle from East High School in Tulsa, who committed to Michigan but is still weighing his options. Graves is a rated a three-star prospect by and No. 57 at his position. However his exceptional quickness and mobility make him a good fit for UT's speed defense.

The Vols were also hoping to host No. 7 defensive end Sam Montgomery of Greenwood, S.C., but he is expected to visit North Carolina this week and LSU next week. He visit Michigan last week and has not yet set a visit for the final weekend of the month.

Anyway you slice it this is the biggest recruiting weekend to this point of the 2009 campaign. The Vols are also closing with a visitors list that reads like Who's Who of the nation's best high school prospects.

Undoubtedly, Tennessee has a coaching staff picked to impress.

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