National Signing Day was once a finishing point. It's now just a point along the way.
No one on Tennessee's football staff is complaining.
The Vols picked up No. 20 for their 2009 signing class on Thursday morning when highly ranked cornerback Janzen Jackson from Barbe High School in Lake Charles, La., signed his letter of intent.
"It was a very tough decision," the 6-foot-5, 175-pound Jackson told Gannett News Service. "But Louisiana will always be my home."
True, but Jackson might not be welcome back by some native Louisianans. Upon announcing his decision, two LSU fans left the press conference suddenly.
Jackson, who postponed his signing one day so his mother could attend, had been committed to LSU since last February but began considering UT last month thanks in large part to defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Jackson's father, former McNeese State secondary coach Lance Guidry, was a candidate to join UT's staff under first-year coach Lane Kiffin. Guidry, who is also friends with UT assistant coach Ed Orgeron, was later hired as the secondary coach at Miami of Ohio.
Jackson told Gannett News Service that the loss of LSU co-defensive coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto played a role in his decision to pick the Vols.
Peveto, who recruited Jackson, wasn't retained by the Tigers and was named coach at Northwestern State.
Jackson is rated the No. 17 overall prospect, the No. 2 cornerback in the nation and the second best prospect in Louisiana by Rivals.com.
He ranks as the 15th and ninth best cornerback in the nation by Scout.com and ESPN, respectively.
Jackson registered 94 tackles and picked off five passes as a senior.
He intercepted 5 passes, registered 93 tackles and blocked seven kicks as a junior.
Jackson's signing gave UT a significant boost in recruiting rankings.
The Vols ended National Signing Day on Wednesday ranked 22nd best in the nation and 10th best in the SEC by Rivals and Scout. UT jumped to 17th and 16th nationally by Rivals and Scout, respectively. Both services ranked UT seventh best in the SEC.
The Vols moved up one spot in the ESPN national rankings, from 16th to 15th, and held their position as the sixth best recruiting class in the SEC.
After quarterback Terrelle Pryor decided to postpone his signing with Ohio State a year ago, others have followed suit.
The Vols are in the mix for two other prospects that have not signed: David Oku from Carl Albert High in Midwest City, Okla., and Bryce Brown from East High in Wichita, Kan. Both are considered two of the elite tailbacks in the nation.
Oku was committed to UT before this week. He is considering Auburn and Syracuse.
Brown has been committed to Miami since last February but is thought to be considering several schools.
Oku is expected to announce his decision any day while Brown could wait until the end of the month.
UT had also recruited tight end Orson Charles from Plant High in Tampa, Fla. Charles has postponed his decision and will take an official visit to Southern California in the coming days.
He is also considering Georgia. UT is not thought to be a major player for Charles.