Going the Distance for UT

From Cambridge, Mass., to Honolulu, Hi., from Miami, Fla., to Portland Or., Tennessee is carving out a recruiting trail that is every bit as a expansive as Lane Kiffin promised when he stated he'd recruit nationally, going where the country's top football talent takes him.

Whether those many miles translate to Big Orange smiles come national signing day 2010 remains to be seen, but the Vols are getting a warm reception and positioning themselves as a contender with excellent prospects across the continental United State and beyond.

From the New England is Blake Barker, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound tight end with 4.70 speed, of Buckingham Browne Nichols School in Cambridge, Currently ranked No. 10 among the 2010 crop of tight ends, Barker caught 22 passes for 405 yards and five touchdowns as a junior. He also played defensive end, registering 42 tackles with 14.5 sacks and two forced fumbles to earn All New England honors.

UT has offered Barker as has Florida, Virginia, Penn State, Boston College, Maryland, Stanford and North Carolina. He has a dozen or so total offers, a number that's sure to rise over the next six weeks. A standout student with 3.4 GPA, he plays with solid technique. His combination of size and speed would allow him to fill several roles including tight end, H-back, defensive end or rush linebacker. Barker might remind Vol fans of Shane Burton given his physical dimensions, knowledge of the game and diversity.

A mere 5.083 miles away in Honolulu resides one of the nation's top linebacker prospects in V.J. Fehoko of Farrington High School. Ranked the No. 6 middle linebacker prospect in the Class of 2010, the 6-foot, 225-pound Hawaiian runs a reported 4.69 time in the 40. A big-play, high-RPM defender had 86 tackles in 2008 including 18 for losses with 19.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, one interception and a fumble recovery. His efforts earned him All-State recognition for both the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser. Strong and athletic, Fehoko boasts a 36.5 vertical jump and 21 reps of 185 pounds on the bench. He lists his current favorites as BYU, Colorado, Nebraska, Notre Dame, UCLA, Washington and Tennessee. Fehoko was first offered by UT in October when the former administration was in charge.

From the sun-soaked shores of Hawaii we travel 4,856 miles to the bustling beaches of Miami where the Vols are very present and ever active. One of more intriguing prospects they've offered is Delvin Jones, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight end or defensive end, depending on who you ask, from Miami Palmetto Senior High School. Playing at small LaSalle High School last fall Jones had a giant season on defense with 70 tackles, 20 sacks, nine interceptions and two caused fumbles. His offensive numbers (90 yards and a touchdown) reflect a reduced playing load more than any lack of ability. Jones has run a 10.7 time in the 100 meters and has a 4.60 time in the 40. The four-star prospect has no shortage of interest with offers from Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee and USC. Like Barker, he is a tall talent with multiple application. Still raw he has a next level body and ability

Continuing our theme of defenders and distances, there's only 2,704 miles from Miami to Portland where the easy to admire, hard to pronounce Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound, (4.80) defensive end holds court for David Douglas High School. He was named 2008 Defensive Player of the Year in the Mt. Hood Conference after recording 96 tackles (73 solo) with 22 for loss and 18 sacks as a junior. He is ranked No. 8 on the 2010 Northeast Fab 50 two spots below Fhehoko. Odighizuwa, who is rated the nation's No. 13 defensive end by Scout.com has offers from Florida, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Tennessee and Washington.

It appears Tennessee's coaching staff will log a lot of frequent flier miles while taking the long way home.


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