Tennessee needs a quarterback for the future. It also could use a more immediate boost in recruiting.
"It's very important," head coach Lane Kiffin said on the News Sentinel's radio show, The Sports Page, about getting a quarterback for the Class of 2010, "especially when we haven't had one for a couple of years sign."
Of UT's nine commitments, only two are slated to play offense. And while prospects' reviews have been overwhelmingly positive about the Vols' new coaching staff this summer, some have found reason to downgrade UT.
While quarterbacks are committing elsewhere, UT is still on the prowl.
"That's a knock that the receivers, the tight ends and the running backs (mention)," Kiffin said. "That's one of the few things they come up with as a negative for us.
"They're so excited about everything but they say 'Coach, who's going to throw us the ball?' It will be real critical to get a quarterback or two to help us to even go to a higher level of recruiting than what we are doing now."
Kiffin and crew missed out on Andrew Hendrix from Moeller High School in Cincinnati, who committed to Notre Dame on Thursday.
UT prospect Jesse Scroggins from Lakewood (Calif.) High School has some thinking to do after reportedly receiving a scholarship offer from Southern California on Thursday. Scroggins has said he's down to USC, UT and Florida.
Securing a quarterback could also help the Vols secure those who will eventually protect him. UT has only one offensive lineman committed: Jose Jose from Miami.
UT likely will have four seniors start on its offensive line this fall and has lost a handful of reserves who either left the program or weren't retained by Kiffin.
Securing offensive linemen is "very high" on UT's list of recruiting priorities, Kiffin said. However, don't expect UT to be chock full of four- and five-star blockers come National Signing Day 2010.
"They may not be the highest ranked players but they'll be players that fit our system - what we want," Kiffin said. "We want athletic guys. We want tough guys.
"I think what you may see is we may end up signing some guys that aren't household names in recruiting but will be great players in our system."
As UT's coaches take a much-needed vacation, Kiffin said he's pleased with the foundation that his staff has laid for the 2010 class.
"It has been really good," he said. "I think that you see Tennessee as a national powerhouse in recruiting.
"As you pick up articles through the country, you see Tennessee in the top five (among elite prospects' choices of schools). A lot of times the other four schools have just been winning national championships or have three- or four-straight 10-win seasons. Then here's Tennessee coming off a 5-7 season in that group.
"I couldn't be more happy about our staff and what they've been doing. It will continue to get better because what you read is when kids come here, they're blown away."
Kiffin said UT has overcome much of the negative national publicity that dogged its recruiting earlier this spring.
"This wasn't what I expected," Kiffin said, reciting what some prospects have told him. "We'd had other people tell us all these negative things about your staff and you. We get here and it's nothing like what we've heard."