College football recruiting is all about lists. There's a list for top prospects in the nation, top prospects in all 50 states and the much less popular top prospects north of the arctic circle.
Well, I've decided to enter the list business. So say "hello" to the first edition of "The Suggested Seven" brought to you by the News Sentinel, GoVolsXtra.com and the News Sentinel's radio show, The Sports Page.
(I've found that splitting up sponsorships in this economy makes it easier on everyone.)
"The Suggested Seven" is a list of prospects who I suggest UT secure in order to land the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.
The Vols have 21 commitments for 2010. The SEC only allows 28 signees, although that number can be manipulated by back-counting, grey-shirting, etc.
But working within the SEC's limit, here are the prospects who would almost assuredly give UT the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation:
n Matt Elam: He is considered the top prospect in Florida. The 6-foot, 205-pound safety from Dwyer High School in West Palm Beach, Fla., has been committed to Florida for nearly a year. Yet UT convinced Elam to take an official visit to Knoxville this weekend.
Imagine what nabbing him would do to Florida coach Urban Meyer.
n Jeff Luc: Luc, which is pronounced "Luck," is considered the top linebacker prospect in the nation. The Vols have been in the hunt for months and would be fortunate (pun intended) to land him.
The 6-1, 230-pounder from Treasure Coast High in Port St. Lucie, Fla., is considering UT, Florida, Florida State, Miami, LSU, Georgia, Ohio State and Southern California among others. He is taking his official visit to UT this weekend.
n Dietrich Riley: Some believe Riley might commit to UT this weekend during his official visit. The 6-1, 200-pound safety from St. Francis High School in La Canada, Calif., has official visits scheduled to Notre Dame and Washington later this fall.
I know some are wondering if UT really needs another safety after its haul last year. But if Riley is as good as advertised, freshman Janzen Jackson could move to cornerback where many schools recruited him. That would allow Riley to play alongside Darren Myles Jr. at safety. That's a good start to any defensive backfield.
n Lache Seastrunk or Michael Dyer: Seastrunk is the top tailback in the nation. Yet the 5-11, 190-pounder from Temple (Texas) High School seems like a long shot after showing interest in UT early. The Vols will push to get him on campus for an official visit.
Dyer is a 5-8, 200-pound dynamo from Little Rock (Ark.) Christian. He is considering UT, Arkansas, Florida, Ole Miss and Auburn.
n Two of these four offensive linemen: John Cullen is one of the top junior college offensive line prospects in the nation. The 6-6, 280-pound tackle from Fullerton (Calif.) Community College could give the Vols some immediate help up front in 2010, which they desperately need considering they have four senior starters this season.
Cullen is scheduled to visit UT next weekend. Auburn and Utah are also in the mix.
Jawuan James recently de-committed from Alabama and is scheduled to visit UT for the Georgia game. The Bulldogs are thought to be UT's main competition. UCLA also is in the mix.
The 6-6, 295-pounder from North Gwinnett High in Suwanee, Ga., is a friend of UT receiver commitment Markeith Ambles. That should help.
T.J. Leifheit liked his official visit for the UT-UCLA game so much that he came back on his own dime for UT-Ohio. The 6-7, 300-pounder from Hoggard High in Wilmington, N.C., was once thought to be leaning toward North Carolina. That no longer seems to be the case.
James Stone isn't the incredible prospect he once was. The 6-5, 297-pounder from Maplewood High might not be atop UT's offensive lineman list but he's still solid - and an in-state prospect.
Stone is considering UT, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt.
n Another Quarterback: This isn't a knock on Tyler Bray but it's good to have insurance, especially when most think of Bray as a project and UT's coaches have shown little confidence in junior Nick Stephens.
A committed prospect or a junior college star, such as former Florida player Cameron Newton from Blinn Community College in Brenham, Texas, could fit the bill.
Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.