A day after losing one of its top recruiting targets, Tennessee’s quarterback hunt shifted its focus.
First, the Vols announced they had officially acquired Nick Lamaison from Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) Community College. The signing likely took place long ago but was held by UT to ensure that no other quarterback would be scared off.
“It’s a relief just to have it out there and have it official and everything be done,” the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder said Friday. “I’m excited to enroll in school and start classes this fall.”
Highly ranked quarterback Jesse Scroggins from Lakewood (Calif.) High School committed to Southern California this week after a contested battle with UT and Florida.
Following Scroggins’ decision, UT also upped their pursuit of Tyler Bray from Kingsburg (Calif.) High by offering the 6-6, 190-pounder a scholarship. Bray committed to San Diego State in July.
Bray was ranked as the fifth best quarterback in the Elite 11 camp held this week — one spot ahead of Scroggins — and was presented with the Golden Gun Award.
“Potential, potential, potential is the one thing that Bray bleeds,” according to Barry Every of Rivals.com “Once he fills out, his arm could be one of the strongest in the country.
“He already possesses laser-like precision and can see the entire field from a vantage point that very few signal callers can. Bray does need to work on becoming a slightly better athlete in order to buy more time in the pocket and avoid the rush.”
Lamaison should provide immediate depth for a school lacking proven quarterbacks. Lamaison becomes UT’s third scholarship quarterback, joining senior Jonathan Crompton and junior Nick Stephens. Lamaison is already in Knoxville and working on learning UT’s offense.
“There’s definitely a sense of urgency but I’m excited,” he said. “It’s a pretty simple system. I’m picking things up pretty quick. I don’t have a problem having to step in there.”
“Once I learn this offense, then I can really start to compete against the other guys. Until then I’m just trying to pick everything up and be the best sponge I can be.”
The 6-1, 210-pounder passed for 3,479 yards and 36 touchdowns with a 166.5 efficiency rating as a freshman for Mt. San Antonio last season.
Mt. San Antonio finished 2008 with a 12-2 record and won the Central Conference championship.
Largely overlooked coming out of high school, Lamaison is a graduate of South Hills High in Covina, Calif.
“My head wasn’t in the right spot,” Lamaison said, referring to his high school days. “That year (playing junior college football) helped me to not only refine my skills but get my mind in the right place.”
Lamaison said he was also pursued by North Dakota State and Utah State before deciding to enroll at UT. Lamaison said he believes his college interest was limited because most schools didn’t think he would be finished with his junior college requirements this early.
“I was able to finish a lot faster than the schools had thought,” he said. “They thought I was going to come out as a sophomore. I was kind of flying under the radar.”
Lamaison grey-shirted in 2007 before playing last season at Mt. San Antonio. Lamaison said the junior college experience changed him — both physically and mentally.
“A full turnaround,” Lamaison said. “I was a talented athlete in high school but my grades weren’t in the right place — and my mind wasn’t.
“I grew so much mentally on the field and as well as physically in strength and learning how to use my body to the best of my ability.”