Vols ID 4 more for SEC Trench Wars

Tennessee continues to make its way on more and more prospect elite schools-of-interest lists, a strong vital sign of a program reaching the right players with a message that resonates and a vision that radiates a bright Big Orange football future.

That kind of recruiting success from a program coming off a 5-7 season is testament to the powers of persuasion possessed by Lane Kiffin's staff of aces. It also speaks volumes about Tennessee's winning tradition, unique brand and national appeal.

True Tennessee only has one commitment, but the sheer volume of four and five star prospects they are on early assures others will follow and a monster campaign could be on the horizon.

Here are some summaries of the latest high-caliber prospects to express interest in Tennessee. See if you can discern a pattern.

Ronald Powell, 6-4, 250, defensive end from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno, Calif., has added UT to his list of favorites. This sleek, swift, pass rusher is perfect for SEC competition given his athleticism and speed. If you don't believe he is SEC caliber consider he has been offered by Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU in addition to Tennessee. Powell is also interested in California and USC. A big talent with excellent upside which Golden State Prep ranks one of the top five defensive line prospects in California. "They play great defense and play in a great conference," he told Fightin'Gator.com last month. "The SEC is no joke and I have wanted to play in the SEC since I was a little kid. I have a lot of family in Atlanta and Birmingham so I am familiar with the area."

It sounds like the area is just as familiar with Powell.

George Uko, 6-4, 285, 5.16, of Don Antonio Lugo High School in Chino, Calif., is ranked No. 8 among defensive tackle prospects by Scout.com. He received an offer from Tennessee on Monday according to his father, Johnson Uko. As a junior, Uko registered 87 tackles with five sacks, six hurries, two forced fumbles and an offensive touchdown, earning all-league honors. In 2007 he was named Defensive MVP and All Mt. Baldy League for Lugo after recording 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He has recorded a 4.9 time in the 40 at one combine last year and is looking to break the five-second barrier at the Scout.com Combine in L.A next month. Uko also has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska and Oregon.

Evan Hailes, 6-2, 310, 5.0, defensive tackle, Oscar F. Smith High School, Chesapeake, Va., is ranked No. 17 at his position by Scout.com. Played on the same dominate defense that UT middle linebacker signee Jerod Askew played. Plays with the low leverage and tenacity that is needed in the trenches. A strong, physical presence who benches 385 pounds, squats 520 and has a 27-inch vertical. As a junior Hailes recorded 81 tackles, 21 for loss and nine sacks. He boasts a 3.1 GPA and took the ACT last weekend. He has also been offered by LSU, Boston College, Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

"I'm explosive off the line and use my hands really well," he said. I" play very aggressive and it gives me a sense of urgency. I like to think I'm a key factor on the team and make the other team worried about me."

Alfy Hill, 6-4, 245, defensive end of West Brunswick High School in Shallotte, N.C., is ranked No. 23 at his position who has already collected offers from Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech among a reported 24 offers. Injured as a sophomore, Hill played his first season of high school football as a junior, compiling some big numbers for a rookie that include 102 tackles, and 12 sacks. A standout on special teams, Hill blocked four punts, and returned a blocked field goal 86 yards for a touchdown. On offense he caught 10 passes for 190 yards at tight end.


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