A look at the DBs

Selecting the best defensive backs from Tuesday's Tennessee summer camp was like selecting the salvageable items from a house fire: Everything has been scorched, so the pickin's are slim.

Small wonder. The receivers had every advantage in the one-on-one drills. First, the drills were held on the indoor turf at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex, which is a faster surface than natural grass. And, unencumbered by pads, the wideouts were quicker and more agile than they would be under practice or game conditions. In addition, the absence of pads helped them elude press coverage and get downfield easier. With no pressure on the quarterbacks, the wideouts were running until they got separation and the QBs were deadly accurate with their throws.

Meanwhile, the defensive backs had the added disadvantage of trying to cover the entire field with no underneath help from linebackers and no deep help from safeties.

Bottom line: The pass catchers looked a whole lot better than the pass defenders on Tuesday. Still, several defensive backs showed some promise.

A few who caught my eye included:

- Desmond Brown, 5-11, 185, Cherokee County High of Centre, Ala. Brown has the cut physique of a fifth-year college senior and the agility to perhaps play corner in college. He was so impressive Tuesday that he got a scholarship offer from Vol head man Lane Kiffin following the workout. On a day when all of the DBs struggled, Brown looked to be the best of the bunch. He's rated a 3-star recruit and No. 42 among safety prospects by Scout.com.

- Tino Thomas, Memphis Melrose. Only a junior, he has athleticism, quickness and nice bloodlines. His older brother, Graig Cooper, led the Miami Hurricanes in rushing (682 yards) as a freshman last fall. Thomas got some camp attention from UT secondary coach Willie Mack Garza, which suggests he already may be on the Vols' radar.

- Eaton Spence, Glades Day School of Belle Glade, Fla. Another junior, he had a feast-or-famine day Tuesday, recording a spectacular interception and several nice breakups but getting burned several times, as well. The 5-10, 165-pounder started every game as a sophomore cornerback last fall for a Glades Day team that advanced to Round 2 of the state's Class A playoffs.

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