James Stone's residence was a popular place Wednesday night.
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman from Maplewood High School in Nashville was scheduled to host Alabama's coaches and a contingent of coaches from Tennessee, including new coach Derek Dooley and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.
Maplewood coach Ralph Thompson said he thinks UT has the lead over the Tide.
"What I think is separating the two schools is the head coaches," Thompson said. "I think that he is leaning towards UT just because of his like for Derek Dooley's staff. In James' eyes, Derek Dooley seems like he is more personable than coach (Nick) Saban. I think that is the difference."
As far as the schools and the football programs, Thompson said Stone seems fond of both.
"I think that he thinks that both schools are great places, as well as play good football," Thompson said.
UT's school and football program, however, weren't enough to overcome a strong dislike of former UT coach Lane Kiffin.
"Flat out, nobody liked Kiffin," Thompson said. "I didn't like Kiffin. James didn't like Kiffin."
Thompson said he and Stone also didn't like former UT recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, who along with Kiffin left UT for Southern California on Jan. 12.
Thompson said the only coaches he and Stone liked were Chaney and linebackers coach Lance Thompson, who were retained by UT.
"Pretty much everybody else on the staff, we thought were not personable and weren't in it for the kids," Thompson said. "If they would have stayed, James definitely would not have reconsidered Tennessee. And that's a fact."
Thompson said he even went so far as to tell Kiffin's staff that Stone wasn't interested in UT any longer, especially after he sensed that Kiffin's coaches were placing a higher priority on other offensive line prospects.
Stone's decision should be known on National Signing Day on Feb. 3.
UT has 19 commitments, eight of which are already enrolled. The Vols are expected to sign approximately 27 prospects.
Come Hither: UT commitment Eddrick Loften seems to believe there's a higher calling coming from Knoxville.
"I'm still heavenly committed," the 5-10, 195-pound defensive back from Nimitz High in Irving, Texas, stated via text message.
Loften, however, did confirm that he plans to take an official visit to Southern California at the behest of former UT receivers coach Willie Mack Garza.
"I know about the history and everything," Loften said of the Trojans. "Me and coach Garza are real cool and everything."
It's that relationship that has UT fretting. Loften said USC has not yet offered him a scholarship, but it has shown more interest since Garza's move.
"Willie will have a big part since he's been recruiting me," Loften stated via text message.
Loften said the timetable for his visit to USC hasn't been set, but he expects to depart Friday. Loften said that would be his last official visit.
USC has 14 commitments and room to offer Loften a scholarship.
Ambling Along: LSU is making a push for former UT commitment Markeith Ambles. The Tigers' coaches visited with the receiver from Henry County High in McDonough, Ga., this week and are hoping to secure an official visit this weekend.
Speculation surrounding Ambles is that he'll end up signing with USC. Ambles became friends with USC enrollee Kyle Prater during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio earlier this month.
However, Ambles also has strong ties to LSU. Former UT assistant Frank Wilson recruited the 6-3, 190-pound Ambles before leaving Knoxville for Baton Rouge.
Staff Shakeup: The Vols will try to benefit from recent staff changes, which are even more untimely than UT's. Georgia Tech and Ole Miss lost their recruiting coordinators this week.
Phil TV: Former UT coach Phillip Fulmer will be featured as an analyst by CBS College Sports on signing day.