Tennessee is in prime position to raid Mississippi for the state’s best football recruits.
Ole Miss’ disappointing beginning to the season has opened the door. The Rebels are 3-2 and 1-2 in the SEC after being one of the most talked about teams in the nation before the season started.
Now, high schools that the Rebels once ruled — like South Panola in Batesville, Miss. — are more approachable.
Nicholas Parker is one of those South Panola prospects who is considering rebelling against Ole Miss. The 6-foot-2 tailback is considering UT, Alabama, LSU, Southern Miss and Mississippi State.
UT will likely only sign one tailback for the 2010 class after their strong haul of ball carriers in 2009. The Vols have long shown strong interest in tailback Michael Dyer from Little Rock (Ark.) Christian. Lache Seastrunk from Temple (Texas) has also taken a look at UT. Both are considering other schools, meaning Parker could be the best fit.
The Vols are after immediate help on their defensive line as they recruit Ken Adams, a defensive end from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss. Adams has been thought to be leaning toward committing to Auburn but the Vols are making a push.
There’s also offensive line help in Mississippi. UT is recruiting two massive offensive linemen from Olive Branch High: Shon Coleman, who is 6-7, 285 pounds, and Damien Robinson, who is 6-8, 330.
The Vols are better suited to recruit in Mississippi than most schools. Recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron knows the area well from his coaching days at Ole Miss. Orgeron’s right-hand man in the area is UT receivers coach Frank Wilson, who is recruiting Mississippi and Louisiana.
Wilson’s ties in Louisiana, especially Baton Rouge, are well documented. He has already secured a commitment for the 2011 class from defensive lineman Anthony Johnson from O. Perry Walker High in New Orleans.
The Vols will have to continue to defend that commitment, as LSU will make every effort to sway Johnson, who could be the top prospect in the state once evaluations are complete.
The Vols are recruiting several other prospects from Louisiana, including Patrick Swilling from Brother Martin High. Swilling, whose father, Pat Swilling, played linebacker for the New Orleans Saints, is considering LSU, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss.
The Vols are recruiting Alfred Blue, a tailback from Hahnville in Boutte, La. Blue is also considering LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M among others.
UT is working hard to land receiver James Wright from Belle Chase (La.) High. Wright is considering a host of schools, including LSU.
UT is still after defensive back Jarvis Landry from Lutcher High in Convent, La., for the 2011 class.