Tennessee's new football staff won't set any boundaries when it comes to recruiting quarterbacks. That's already evident from its efforts toward 2010.
UT has offered scholarships to five quarterbacks - from California, Washington, Kansas, Ohio and Florida.
"We'll look at quarterbacks from sea to shining sea," is how UT offensive coordinator Jim Chaney puts it. "We'll go everywhere."
It's a new UT coaching staff. It's not a new theme. In the last 25 years, the Vols have started quarterbacks from Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, California and Oregon.
But there has never been a greater sense of urgency to UT's far-flung quarterback expeditions. It has only two quarterbacks on scholarship; based on last season, neither one evokes fear in SEC defenses. Even if Miami transfer Robert Marve picks UT over Purdue later this week, UT still would be in the market for a high school quarterback.
That's why I would recommend spending some time in Texas.
My suggestion isn't based on any recruiting service's who's who list of high school quarterbacks. It's based on last season. Eight of the top 10 passers from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision are from Texas.
Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has noticed.
"I think it is a cultural change in Texas football from the tailback-dominated offenses of the 1980s," Chaney said. "You've got all those spread offenses in high school, and those guys are throwing in seven-on-seven (summer) leagues."
There's more to it than a change in offensive philosophy, according to Chaney.
"Most places don't allow high school coaches to hire junior high coaches," Chaney said. "In Texas, you can hire your junior high coaches. So your system is being implemented on the junior high level."
Chaney already has benefited from Texas' increased commitment to throwing. One of his quarterbacks at Purdue was Drew Brees, who first starred at Westlake High School in Austin.
You can trace much of the Big 12's offensive explosion to Texas quarterbacks. Last year, you had Texas quarterbacks piling up huge numbers on behalf of Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Texas Tech. This fall, the Longhorns' Colt McCoy will return to make another run at the Heisman Trophy, and Todd Reesing is back at Kansas. Baylor's Robert Griffin, another Texan, is one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the country.
In 2010, you might be reading about Texan Giovanni Vizzo, who will sit out this season after transferring to Texas A&M from North Texas State, where he threw for 5,146 yards and 32 touchdowns in 22 games with the Mean Green.
Texas' Garrett Gilbert also might be a factor by 2010. Gilbert, Parade Magazine's high school player of the year, signed with the Longhorns in February after playing high school ball in Lake Travis, an Austin suburb.
The SEC can vouch for Texas quarterbacks. Georgia's Matthew Stafford, who played high school football in Dallas, was the first player taken in the NFL draft. And Texas quarterback Jevan Snead has figured prominently in the turnaround at Ole Miss.
Snead will be second only to Tim Tebow among SEC quarterbacks this season. Another Texan, Ryan Mallett, will start at quarterback for Arkansas. Quarterback Russell Shepard of Houston is expected to contribute as a freshman at LSU, which at least will capitalize on his heralded running ability.
Given the way UT recruits nationally, isn't it about time it had another Texas quarterback?
The Vols have junior Nick Stephens, who started at midseason last year when Jonathan Crompton was struggling, and they almost had a Texas starter in 1994. When Texan Branndon Stewart couldn't beat out Peyton Manning as a freshman, he transferred to Texas A&M, where he became the starting quarterback.
The University of Texas has a head start on the 2010 quarterback class. Graham's Case McCoy, Colt's brother, has committed to the Longhorns. So has Connor Wood of Houston.
Maybe the Vols can get in on J.D. McCoy, no relation to Case or Colt, but they will have to wait awhile. The precocious, strong-armed passer from Dillon, Texas, will only be a sophomore this fall.
J.D. began starring on Friday nights last year as a freshman while leading his team to the state championship game. He likely will be the most talked-about sophomore quarterback in the country this season.
And he has no college favorite.
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.