Signing Day 2003: Running Tally of New Vols

* Robert Meachem (6-3, 202, 4.28) out of Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Okla., is rated No. 5 nationally by The Insiders and may be the most physically talented wide receiver in the Class of 2003. Still somewhat raw by comparison to other top wideouts, he's an absolutely scintillating athlete with incredible speed and jumping ability as evidenced by his 37-inch vertical leap.

* Aaron Sears (6-3, 300, 5.1) out of Russellville, Ala., is rated No. 40 among the nation's offensive line prospects by The Insiders. Generally regarded as the best O-line prospect in the talent-rich state of Alabama, Sears is an extremely strong run blocker with quick feet and a powerful frame. Was offered by Miami, Ohio State, Auburn and Alabama among others. Joins Eric Young and Steven Jones in what looks like a trio of outstanding offensive line signees for UT.

* Zarnell Fitch (6-3, 295, 4.9) out of Navarro Community College in Corsicana, Texas., where he played strong-side tackle and recorded 37 solo stops with 11 assists and a quarterback sack last season. A big run inside run stopper with the push to implode the pocket, Fitch is an ideal fit for Tennessee's 4-3 scheme and could turn out to be a good nose tackle if the Vols elect to use the 3-4. Fitch, who broke a commitment to Arkansas to sign with Tennessee, was rated the nation's No. 15 junior college player coming into the season. Originally from Star Spencer High School in Oklahoma City, Fitch figures into the tackle rotation next fall.

* Jarod Parrish (6-3, 180, 4.47) out of Chattooga High School in Summerville, Ga. where he played quarterback and safety. Rated No. 75 among safeties by The Insiders, he originally committed to Alabama but was pulled away down the stretch by Tennessee. Accounted for over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior while intercepting four passes on defense. Could play wide receiver at Tennessee but figures to work into the secondary rotation after a year in the strength program.

* Eric Young (6-4, 280, 4.8) Another Parade All-American who graded out at 88 percent this season for Union Comprehensive High School in Union S.C. Runs a sub 4.8 time in the 40, bench presses 320, cleans 320 and squats 455. Young is rated the nation's No. 3 offensive lineman by The Insiders and has perhaps more upside potential than any O-lineman in the Class of 2003. Has the talent to become one of the best offensive guards in Tennessee history and figures immediately into plans for upgrading the O-line this fall. A great get out of the Palmetto State and another recruiting coup for UT recruiting coordinator Dan Brooks.

* Jayson Swain (6-1, 205, 4.41) of Grissom High School in Huntsville, Ala., has all the tools to be a high-caliber pass catcher at the collegiate level. In addition to excellent size, he has outstanding 4.41 speed (4.37 on a good day) and proven production. During four seasons as a starter, Swain had 285 catches for 3,510 yards and 37 TD passes. He's also a standout in the defensive secondary. Rated the nation's No. 7 wide receiver by The Insiders, Swain caught a pair of touchdowns in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He was the first big-name prospect to cast his lot with Tennessee and has worked tirelessly to help the Vols attract other talent. Figures to contribute significantly as a true freshmen at a position where Tennessee needs help.

* Brett Smith (6-2, 175, 4.55) out of Warren High School in Warren, Ark., is one of the most productive offensive players in the nation over the last three years and earned Parade All-American honors as a senior. Led Warren to back-to-back state titles and a 29-1 record over the last two seasons. As a junior, Smith compiled one of the most productive seasons in the nation, catching an incredible 103 passes for 1889 yards (18.3 yards per catch) and 23 touchdowns to lead Warren to a 15-0 record. Played quarterback for the first four games of his senior season before switching to back to his more familiar wide receiver role. Smith had only one reception through the first four games, but finished with 62 receptions for 1,143 yards and 10 touchdowns as the Lumberjacks won their second straight Class-3A state title. Smith also completed 58-of-117 pass attempts for 1,110 yards and 11 TDs while narrowly missing the 1,000-yard mark in rushing. A premier playmaker who will give UT's passing game an immediate boost.

* RoShaun Fellows (6-1, 185, 4.45) is another product of Warren, Ark., who put up eye-popping numbers during his stellar high school career. As a junior, Fellows caught 59 passes for 944 yards and 14 touchdowns. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown and averaged 21 yards per return. On defense, he picked off 10 passes and took one to the house. Over a three-year span, Fellows amassed over 4,000 all-purpose yards as a wide receiver, kick return specialist and part-time tailback. On defense, he intercepted 23 passes at safety and cornerback. He had 72 catches for over 1,200 yards as a senior despite missing three games with a hairline fracture of his sternum. What's most impressive about Fellows is the unique combination of size and speed he brings to the corner in addition to outstanding coverage skills.

* Brandon Johnson (6-2, 198, 4.46) originally played quarterback at Victory Christian High School in Tulsa where he moved to from Boston, Ma. Signed with Northeast Oklahoma A&M after high school and redshirted as a freshman in order to learn the conerback position. Continued to learn and impress on the job last year where he led the nation's No. 2 rated junior college in interceptions with five. Benches 300 pounds and has the ability to play either safety or corner in college. Brings the same type of size, speed and physical play to the job that distinguished Julian Battle's two-year career at Tennessee. Has three years to play three seasons for the Vols which significantly increases his value. Won't graduate until May, but should become a force at UT for the next three years.

* Daniel Brooks (6-3, 235, 4.6) is the top rated player in Tennessee and one of the best linebackers in America. Rated No. 8 by The Insiders and as high as No. 3 by other reptuable services. Amassed more than 230 tackles the last two seasons as an inside linebacker for Jackson Central-Merry and has a reputation as one of the most punishing tacklers in the nation. Brooks is often compared to former UT great Al Wilson who also attended Central-Merry. Figures to push for playing time as a true freshman where he'll have the luxury of learning the position behind Robert Peace and contributing full time on special teams.

* Bo Hardegree (6-5, 195, 4.79) from Jackson Central-Merry. Over the last two seasons, he has led the Cougars to a 21-4 record including a 12-1 mark in 2002. As a junior, Hardegree passed for 1,650 yards and 13 touchdowns. Last season, he improved to 1,950 yards and 23 touchdowns with only six interceptions. He also ran for three scores. Carries a sterling 4.0 grade point average and is rated one of the top 50 under-18 tennis players in the nation. His father is also his head coach which means Hardegree has grown up with an understanding of the game and an appreciation of proper preparation. A sleeper with great upside and the ability to duplicate the feats of David Greene at Georgia

* Anthony McDaniel (6-6, 265, 4.8) of W.J. Keenan High School in Columbia, S.C. is a John Henderson type defensive tackle and one of the most impressive physical specimens in the country. Underrated at No. 37 nationally by The Insiders, McDaniel has the size, strength and speed to become a force at DT and immediately upgrades UT's D-line and pass rush. Originally committed to Clemson, but has waivered since his visit to Tennessee. Along with McBride, he's one of the best surprises of the day.

* Corey Campbell (6-3, 200, 4.39) from Houston Westfield High School is rated the nation's No. 8 safety prospect but he has sprinter's speed and a linebacker's body. Campbell recorded 55 tackles with two interceptions, two fumbles recoveries, six tackles for losses, five pass breakups, three caused fumbles and two sacks last season. As a junior playing in the rugged District (15-5A), Campbell had nine interceptions and 46 solo stops. He finished his career with 15 interceptions. Plans to run track at Tennessee and has the skills to become a contributer in the secondary rotation as a true freshman. One of the most physically impressive DB candidates the Vols have ever signed.

* Turk McBride (6-4, 240, 4.6) of Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden N.J. comes in as the No. 3 rated defensive end in the country and is one of the nation's most feared and productive pass rushers. Explosive off the edge with excellent strength and speed, McBride compiled 29 sacks in the last two seasons. He played receiver on offense and caught 21 passes for 586 yards, an average of 27.8 yards per catch, and four touchdowns. An impact player of the highest order and perhaps Tennessee's catch of the day.

* Antonio Gaines (5-9, 180, 4.38) injured a knee in the second game of his senior season at Covington and didn't return to the line-up although he is reportedly 100 percent today. He made a big impression on UT's coaches during a football camp at Tennessee in the spring of 2002 with a 4.38 clocking in the 40 and laudable lateral quickness in the 20-yard shuttle. Posted back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons at Covington as a sophomore and junior helping lead the Chargers to a combined 24-3 record. Excellent strength for his size Gaines benches 300 and power cleans 275.

* Brad Cottam (6-8, 240) was a sleeper when Tennessee first offered him, but has since awaken a lot of people to his ability. Burst on the scene at a Nike Camp where ran a 4.70 in the 40, a 4.40 time in the 20-yard shuttle and an impressive 30-inch vertical leap. Cottam also displayed excellent strength by bench pressing 185 pounds 19 times, which is remarkable for a player his height and weight. Didn't get a chance to display his receiving skills often at Evangelical Christian School, but does have good hands and presents a huge target. The only tight end Tennessee is likely to sign, Cottam could see significant playing time this fall especially around the goal line where his vertical presence becomes invaluable.

* Bill Grimes (6-31/2, 205, 4.55) little known talent from newly formed Chapel Hill High School in Douglasville, Ga., Grimes has the physical skills to develop into a big-play receiver in college. This was a player that Tennessee coaches liked on film and even better in person. Brings a lot of intangibles to the mix and has the frame to add 30 or 40 pounds to become an H-back in the David Martin mode. Caught 17 touchdown passes as a junior and senior for teams that finished a collective 2-18. Also returned kicks for the Panthers where he averaged 25 yards per attempt. Probably destined for a redshirt role as a true freshman catching up on the technique requirements need to be a college receiver.

* Jonathan Hefney (5-10, 175, 4.45) of Rock Hill High School in Rock Hill, S.C. An excellent cover corner and a skilled return specialist, Hefney helps meet Tennessee's need for a playmaker both on defense and special teams. Reportedly had 18 interceptions during his high school career. Extremely quick with outstanding instincts.

* Jared Hostetter (6-5, 240, 4.75) of Lawrence County High School in Louisa, KY, holds the distinction of being the first to commit and the first to sign with Tennessee. Rated the nation's No. 30 defensive end, Hostetter played middle linebacker throughout his career where he posted some impressive numbers including over 230 tackles as a junior and senior and garnered honors as the state's defensive player of the year in 2002.

* Steven Jones (6-6, 292, 5.1) of Brentwood High School in Brentwood, is an athletic big man who has specialized on defense in high school but is likely to become a standout offensive tackle at Tennessee. Started on both sides of the ball for the first time this year and helped lead Brentwood to a 14-1 record and the Class-5A state championship. Recorded 12 sacks and 148 tackles as a defensive end his last two seasons and exhibited steady improvement in his first stint at offensive tackle. Classic size and quick feet to be a premier weakside offensive tackle.

* Jon Poe (6-0, 235, 4.6) served two years at Coffeyville Community College after originally signing with Tennessee out of Covington High School. Recorded 69 tackles at middle linebacker for Coffeyville and has the ability to play that position at Tennessee, but could also help at fullback. A high-energy player with a great attitude, Poe comes to play every day. Should become a special teams mainstay immediately where his speed and aggressive play will be an asset. Poe has three years to play three seasons at UT after redshirting as a freshman at Coffeyville following knee surgery.


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