"Tennessee just offered this morning. I was pretty excited because I loved my time at their camp and the SEC is big time football.
Tennessee isn't idly standing by wondering if Jesse Scroggins will be its next quarterback.
The Vols offered Chase Rettig from San Clemente High School in Sierra Madre, Calif., on Tuesday. Rettig is only the fifth pro-style quarterback UT has offered for the 2010 signing class.
"Tennessee just offered this morning," the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Rettig told ESPN.com. "I was pretty excited because I loved my time at their camp and the SEC is big time football.
"The timing is crazy because I was actually thinking about committing to Boston College today and then I got an e-mail from one of the coaches to call coach (Lane) Kiffin and when I did, he told me they were offering."
UT hasn't been able to fill its most pressing recruiting need with the other scholarships it has offered to some of the nation's top quarterbacks.
Blake Bell from Wichita, Kan., committed to Oklahoma. Jake Heaps from Sammamish, Wash., committed to Brigham Young. Andrew Hendrix from Cincinnati committed to Notre Dame. Scroggins is undecided.
Tommy Rees from Lake Forest, Ill., was also a possibility for UT until he committed to Notre Dame on Tuesday. UT had not offered the 6-3, 190-pound Rees but was seriously considering him, a source close to Rees' recruitment told the News Sentinel.
Scroggins, who is from Lakewood (Calif.) High, will announce his decision July 25 at the Elite 11 quarterback camp. He is considering UT, Southern California, and Florida.
The 6-3, 195-pound Scroggins was long thought to be leaning - perhaps heavily - to UT due to the proximity of Knoxville to his mother's family, which lives in Memphis. UT's soon-to-be vacant quarterback position was also thought to be a strong lure for Scroggins.
The Vols have only one scholarship quarterback slated to be on their 2010 roster.
Yet Scroggins told the News Sentinel on Monday that receiving a scholarship offer from USC was "very big" because nearby family and friends could easily see him play.
The move to offer Rettig is a sign that UT feels less comfortable with Scroggins than before, but it's also a sign that Rettig's stock is rising. He was a standout at UT's camp in early June even though he had no scholarship offers.
He has since picked up a scholarship offer from Boston College and likely would have picked up an offer from UT even if the Vols secured a commitment from Scroggins.
"I still like BC a lot and I think that's a great opportunity for me," Rettig told ESPN.com "That's a great academic school and I know I could get in there and compete early for playing time.
"I like the coaches a lot and the school has produced a lot of NFL quarterbacks in the past, so this is going to be a really tough decision for me."
Rettig has a tie to UT. He is one of a handful of California quarterbacks receiving tutelage from former UT quarterback Casey Clausen.
Rettig has said he plans to graduate in December meaning he could enroll in college in January and participate in spring practice.
Rettig is thought to have finished second to Scroggins in USC's quarterback battle during its camp this month. Scroggins' performance resulted in him finally being offered a scholarship from the Trojans.
For Scroggins, USC has proximity on its side; he lives less than 20 miles from campus. The depth chart, however, isn't so inviting.
Freshman Matt Barkley is expected to compete for the starting job this fall and has extensive ties to the school and the community.
Barkley's father played water polo at USC. Barkley was named the top player in Orange County and the top prospect in the nation by ESPN and held the same rank at one time from Rivals.
As for Scroggins, there's certainly a belief that his family is split between UT and USC. A source close to the situation believes that he is still undecided.
UT has not offered Scroggins' cousin, receiver Jerry Anderson from Houston High in Memphis. Scroggins told the News Sentinel in June that he hoped UT would offer Anderson. The Vols are thought to still be evaluating Anderson, who said he has offers from Duke, Ole Miss, Purdue, Indiana and Middle Tennessee State.
Landing Scroggins and Rettig seemed a realistic goal until Scroggins started to waver and Rettig received an offer from Boston College. Now the Vols are fighting to make sure they land one if they can't land both.
Given the shortage of elite high school quarterbacks this year, UT would likely change its quarterback recruiting focus from high school players to junior college prospects and/or Barry Brunetti from Memphis University School.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Brunetti is committed to West Virginia, but showed strong interest in UT. It's reasonable to think he could be swayed if the Vols made a strong push.
Brunetti told the News Sentinel on Tuesday that UT is still showing interest, especially lately. He said he intends to contact UT's coaches.
"It's a great offer because it's still a school that I looked up to since I was young," Brunetti said. "I'm still going to kind of research Tennessee. Even though I'm a solid commitment (to West Virginia) it's still Tennessee and I'm still in state, but it would be hard for me to de-commit because I'm very solid to West Virginia."
As for junior college quarterbacks, Cam Newton from Blinn Community College in Brenham, Texas, and Matt Sims from El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif., are prominent possibilities that likely will be evaluated by the Vols this fall.
Nick Lamaison from Mt. San Antonio Community College in Walnut, Calif., is also a viable - and more immediate - option.
The 6-1, 200-pound Lamaison could enroll at UT this summer or fall and be eligible to play this season. He would be a valuable addition, especially if UT suffers any significant injuries to the two scholarship quarterbacks on its roster: senior Jonathan Crompton and junior Nick Stephens.
Freelance contributor Josh Ward contributed to this report.