Vols Land Two, Wait on Others

Jerod Mayo

Less than 48 hours before national signing day, the commitments are falling fast and furious.

Twelve hours after the Vols lost Tallahassee linebacker Ricky Gallon to hometown Florida State University, they took Hampton, Va., linebacker Jerod Mayo away from in-state Virginia and Virginia State.

As Tennessee awaits decisions of Florida cornerback prospects Joe Manning and Tony Carter, it picked up a commitment from athlete Inquoris Johnson of Crim High School in Atlanta, Ga., a prospect whose stock has been on the rise of and who was offered by the Georgia Bulldogs. Though he is rated the nation's No. 96 wide receiver nationally by The Insiders, he projects as a cornerback at Tennessee.

Johnson made his decision after visiting Tennessee over the weekend. UT's decision to offer Johnson may signal the Vols are not optimistic about signing either Manning or Carter, although there are indications they may be gaining late ground with Carter.

Johnson dropped off the recruiting radar after missing his entire junior season with a broken collar bone, but bounced back for the big senior season at the small Atlanta high school and began to draw interest.

At Crim High School last season, Inquoris Johnson caught 30 passes for 443 yards and six touchdowns, rushed for 505 yards and four touchdowns, returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns, recorded 35 solo tackles, 10 pass breakups and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a TD. He also leads Crim's basketball team in scoring with a 26.5 point per game average.

Georgia's scholarship offer was conditional upon Johnson qualifying. He, reportedly, made all A's last semester to boost his GPA past the minimum qualifying threshold and needs only 30 points on his SAT to become eligible. He joins Jonathan Hefney, a player the Vols signed in 2003 and placed at Hargrave Military Academy, as Tennessee's other cornerback commitment.

U.T. is still waiting on a decision from linebacker Robert Ayers of Bennettville, S.C., who is expected to announced his choice between Florida and Tennessee Tuesday, although South Carolina remains in the picture. The recent commitment of James Turner, a non-rated linebacker prospect from Augusta, Ark., may be a signal the Vols expect Ayers to choose Florida.

Tennessee is also expecting word from Alabama defensive back Tony Bell who visited UT over the weekend. Johnson and Mayo were Tennessee's 20th and 21st commitment in the Class of 2004. The Vols are expected to sign 25 or 26 prospects in this year's recruiting class.

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