Vols Get Oku Boost

A good signing class got a lot better last night as the Vols secured the services of four-star running back David Oku, ending one of the more unique recruiting stories in a 2009 campaign peppered with atypical tales of top tier talent delaying their decisions till long after national signing day.

Scout.com analyst Andrew Bone reported the news at the same time Tennessee's basketball team was putting the finishing touches on a victory over South Carolina that locked up the SEC East Division title for the Vols. Adding Oku amps the excitement in Big Orange Country with the start of spring practice on Monday followed by the start of the SEC Tournament three days later.

"I am going to Tennessee," Oku told Bone. "I decided about 7:30 tonight that Tennessee was where I wanted to go. It was really still tied tonight between Tennessee and Auburn. I thought I would make a decision next week. It then just hit me that I wanted to go with Tennessee."

Oku, who attended Cal Albert High School in Oklahoma City, gives UT a versatile back who can line up in several positions and perform multiple roles. Moreover he will provide a nice complement to No. 4 fullback signee Toney Williams, much in the same fashion Kiffin used Reggie Bush and LenDale White in tandem and individually at USC.

Oku compiled 5,802 yards in his four-year high school career, with a school record 68 touchdowns. As a senior he rushed for 1,905 yards and 23 touchdowns.

The 21st member of UT's 2009 class, Oku vaults the Vols into the No. 15 spot in the adjusted 2009 team recruiting rankings pushing Tennessee past Auburn, Ole MIss, Mississippi State and Arkansas into No. 5 in the SEC.

It also sets the stage for an anticipated announcement today by No. 3 tight end Orson Charles a five-star prospect from Plant High School in Tampa, Fla., who is down to Georgia, USC and Tennessee. The extended recruiting season should come on March 16, when Bryce Brown is slated to sign with either Miami, LSU, USC, Tennessee or Oregon.

Whether Oku's decision impacts Brown's interest in UT is a matter of speculation. The prospects have reportedly discussed both signing with the Vols. Brown has also expressed concern about whether the talent level on Tennessee's offense was strong enough to implement a successful pro-style attack. He should see the addition of Oku as an improvement, especially when combined with the signing of Nu'Keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague.

Oku is confident Tennessee fans won't be disappointed with the game he'll bring to Neyland Stadium next fall.

"I can say they have the type of guy to fit in their offense," he told Bone. "They are getting someone who can line up in the slot and run the ball too. Everyone has their own kind of swagger, and I have mine."

Lane Kiffin has his own kind of swagger too and with his recruiting success it's understandable.


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