Eddrick Loften finally returns to Knoxville

Eddrick Loften has already seen a packed house at Tennessee. It just wasn't Neyland Stadium.

Loften, on his penultimate official visit during his recruitment, was one of 20,714 fans on edge at Thompson-Boling Arena during the Vols' 71-69 victory over Ole Miss. A little more than two weeks later, Loften, a four-star safety from Irving, Texas, signed with the Vols in hopes of playing in front of more than 100,000 people as soon as September.

His weekend trip for tonight's game against Alabama, though, will mark the first time Loften has set foot in Knoxville since that trip in January. Loften, after a long and grueling wait from the NCAA Clearinghouse, was ruled ineligible in August for the 2010 season because of a test score that was deemed fishy, and later resulted in one that came up 30 points short.

"It's frustrating, knowing that I could be there and I should be there," Loften said. "It's frustrating every time I turn on the TV and see some of my friends playing on TV that went off to college."

Loften, rated the 14th-best safety in the nation and 25th-best player in Texas for the class of 2010 by Rivals.com, will be one of UT's three official visitors this weekend. If his latest test score, which is expected to be released in a matter of weeks, is good enough to qualify, he'll enroll at UT in January. He's heard from other schools, including TCU and SMU, but has remained committed to the Vols.

"They're sticking with me so I said I was going to stick with them," Loften said. "The whole community is great and it's a football town down there. It's about the football."

Loften's life has been everything but football since he received the bad news in August. This marks his first fall without playing some kind of organized football since he was seven.

Loften said he's kept his routine simple over the past few months. Wake up, work out, study, play video games, go to bed, repeat.

"I got a lot of time on my hands down here since I'm out of school," Loften said. "Most of the time is free time. That's about it."

Though he's not in "football shape," Loften assured that he has at least maintained the body that allowed him to amass 128 tackles (35 solos), four interceptions, 10 pass-break-ups and one fumble recovery as a senior. Loften said he works out with former San Francisco 49er linebacker Chet Brooks, a friend of his father's who started in Super Bowl XXIV.

"Me and Chet are doing drills and everything," Loften said. "Getting my feetwork and getting me in the best shape for me to come down there."

Loften said he primarily used online teaching tools to prepare for his latest attempt at the SAT, which he's confident will result in a score that will eventually allow him to stay in Knoxville longer than a weekend.

"I kind of feel like I should be part of the team," Loften said. "I should have been there in May or June."

Picking Up the Tab: Cornerback Justin Coleman (Brunswick, Ga.), who committed to UT in July, and four-star running back Brendon Bigelow (Fresno, Calif.), a soft verbal commitment with Washington, will also be on campus for official visits this weekend.

Bigelow, who has undergone two knee surgeries in his high school career, is considered the sixth-best running back in the nation, third-best player in California and 32nd-best player overall in the Class of 2011 by Rivals.com. He's received interest from schools around the country and will continue to make visits elsewhere despite his commitment to the Huskies.

Though Brunswick High head coach Victor Floyd continues to receive calls from "tons of schools," Coleman said he's largely shut down his recruitment. He said he plans to enroll at UT for the winter semester, which makes him eligible to participate in spring football.

"I hope I can make more friends and everything," Coleman said. "I'm going to tell them Tennessee is the right place to be."

In the Clear?: UT commitment Tino Thomas, an athlete from Melrose High in Memphis, will be one of a number of unofficial visitors on campus this weekend.

If all goes as planned, Thomas said, he will carpool to Knoxville with one of UT's top targets, four-star offensive tackle Cameron Clear, who plays 10 minutes down the street at Central High.

Clear, who can also play tight end, is ranked the second-best prospect in the state of Tennessee behind Nashville offensive lineman Antonio Richardson, and is considered the nation's 18th-best offensive tackle prospect by Rivals.com.

Two Carver High (Columbus, Ga.) teammates, four-star defensive tackle Gabe Wright and five-star running back Isaiah Crowell, are also expected to be in town this weekend on unofficial visits. Both remain uncommitted, but Wright told the News Sentinel that he's narrowed his choices to Auburn and Tennessee, while Crowell has told numerous scouting services that he's choosing between Alabama and Georgia.

Andrew Gribble can be reached at 865-342-6327.

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Comments » 15

ChattaVol1 writes:

Have a great time in Knoxville guys, there is something really special on the way! Be a part of it...

McMinnVol writes:

Just heard on Nashville TV station that Antonio Richardson of Ensworth HS is no longer on the football team. He is expected to be at UT-Bama game tomorrow. No word as to why he is not on the team any longer.

GO VOLS, BEAT BAMA!

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

SAT??

ACT is easier.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

My ACT scores went from low(19 on English) to very good(28 on math) to high(30+something in natural science, the highest single score in my class). The reality was that I was half asleep during the first test and clicked during the process of testing. My English teacher was crushed, while my math and science teachers were shocked. Long story short, those tests aren't all they're cracked up to be. They do not, cannot account for a person's mental and physical state.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Got to start bagging some of these recruits. No defections. Now that the University has a permanent President lets hope that management stabilizes.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to McMinnVol:

Just heard on Nashville TV station that Antonio Richardson of Ensworth HS is no longer on the football team. He is expected to be at UT-Bama game tomorrow. No word as to why he is not on the team any longer.

GO VOLS, BEAT BAMA!

academic issues

Mobbdeep4life writes:

in response to steamboatticket#484773:

My ACT scores went from low(19 on English) to very good(28 on math) to high(30+something in natural science, the highest single score in my class). The reality was that I was half asleep during the first test and clicked during the process of testing. My English teacher was crushed, while my math and science teachers were shocked. Long story short, those tests aren't all they're cracked up to be. They do not, cannot account for a person's mental and physical state.

Same thing happened to me. I was half asleep during the English part but I killed the math section.
On another note, I hope Coleman and Thomas make friends this weekend and begin recruiting for UT. I hear that Pat Martin is a relentless recruiter for the Vols too.

HtownVol writes:

Great. It would have been nice to have him now, but since this is a lost season anyway we will have Eddrick for 4 years after this one. It is looking like DB is going to be UT's deepest poaition for the next couple years. We are getting a bunch of very good DB's, I am liking how that position will look next year.

Have faith is CDD and staff. These coaches can recruit as well as anyone. For a year or two they may have to fing the diamonds bacause of the results on the field, but as they get depth and talent the wins will come. Then after this staff gets to a couple descent bowl games they are going to be able to sign more of the top recruits that want to win right away.

I really hope that we cankeep J Worley. From what I have seen this kid is going to be a grat QB. I actually like his HS videos more than Brays. Bray will have the advantage next year but if Bray wins the job and Simms is mature enough to stay as a backup andNash as the #3 then JW will be a good player to Red-Shirt. The the UT QB situation will be ina great position for the next 5 years.

The UT fans will be happy with the result this staff will put together over the next few years. And if the Wins come as a result of the plan that CDD has for the UT football program then I think that we have a coach who will be loyal to Tennessee for a long time to come. I cant say it enough, show support through this tough season and it will help build our team as well as anything else we can do as fans. If you have frustrations as I have had at times take a step back and think about the situation this staff has been thrown into, which 99 percent of the issues we have were caused by mistakes made before CDD. Remember that Bill Belicheck (?) would not have been able to lead this team to many more wins this season. No coach can win with no depth at any position. 3 total starts on the O-Line coming into the season, 1st year QB, 1st year RB, most talented player is a FR, lost 2 good DTs before the season, a Walk-On leading the Defense, and so on...

GO VOLS!

TLepage writes:

it would be awesome to somehow get clear to pull the trigger this weekend.... Lots of elite talent on campus this weekend..... If this recruiting class could finish with the following players, we would end up with a very strong class:
- Lofton (if he can become eligible)
- Wright
- Clear
- Ricahardson
- Couch
- Arnett
- Crowell or Bigelow

I know landing all of these guys is a real long shot, but i guess its possible... hopefully some big commits this weekend can lead to a ripple effect....

Reflections writes:

"Me and Chet are doing drills and everything," Loften said. "Getting my feetwork and getting me in the best shape for me to come down there."

Hope he did better on his test than his interview might indicate.

mercyseat writes:

I wonder about getting loften and bigelow because one has academic issues, and the other has had 2 surgeries already in high school. It might hurt us more than help us. Dooley is big on intelect and health.

The7Maxims writes:

in response to TLepage:

it would be awesome to somehow get clear to pull the trigger this weekend.... Lots of elite talent on campus this weekend..... If this recruiting class could finish with the following players, we would end up with a very strong class:
- Lofton (if he can become eligible)
- Wright
- Clear
- Ricahardson
- Couch
- Arnett
- Crowell or Bigelow

I know landing all of these guys is a real long shot, but i guess its possible... hopefully some big commits this weekend can lead to a ripple effect....

I read on scout that couch and Arnett are going to be Volunteers. Clear is gonna be tough, but we need him. Please look up Bigelow on YouTube. That guy is the fastest guy I've seen on a high school football field.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

in response to Mobbdeep4life:

Same thing happened to me. I was half asleep during the English part but I killed the math section.
On another note, I hope Coleman and Thomas make friends this weekend and begin recruiting for UT. I hear that Pat Martin is a relentless recruiter for the Vols too.

Let's just hope that Coleman and Thomas turn out to be killer corners. Team needs a little help back there.

Voluvr writes:

in response to McMinnVol:

Just heard on Nashville TV station that Antonio Richardson of Ensworth HS is no longer on the football team. He is expected to be at UT-Bama game tomorrow. No word as to why he is not on the team any longer.

GO VOLS, BEAT BAMA!

Here's the skinny: He went to Pearl-Cohn in Nashville where he was zone for public school to attempt to get his gpa up. Hope bama get him. He's good looking in a uniform but gets tired every game and let's you know it with lumbering. He always gets hurt every game and comes out early and he gets his arz whooped. 6 2 Woody Barret at Brentwood Academy ate his lunch. Big name, big school, overrated.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Hope he hasn't lost any speed with all that slacking he's doing...typical High schooler I suppose(only faster)

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