Another Meachem?

Jameel Owens

When Oklahoma native Robert Meachem departed UT for the NFL he left a hole in the offense few could fill, which is why it would be so fitting if the Vols found Meachem's replacement in his home state.

At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and with 4.45 speed, Jameel Owens of Muskogee, Okla., is a virtual clone of Meachem. He has excellent leaping ability and the type of core strength needed to ripped free of tacklers. Scout.com describes the senior as follows:

"Owens is a deep ball threat. He uses his size and speed to his advantage. Owens is fast and very good in the air. He shows no fear and will lay out for the tough grabs and will go over the middle. When Owens catches it short he shows the ability to make something happen in the open field. Owens has very good hands and concentration."

That description sounds a lot like Meachem and his production as a sophomore reflect that fact. Owens caught 40 passes for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2005 an average of 22.5 yards per catch and a TD every four receptions.

Owens would have been expected to produce even larger numbers as a junior but the versatile athlete ended up on the other end of the passing game, playing QB for a Muskogee team that needed one.

This year he's returned to the more familiar role of pass catcher and he's posted some noteworthy stats through four games.

"It's going pretty good," Owens told Inside Tennessee on Tuesday. "We're 3 and 1 right now. I'm playing wide receiver and defense but I'm pretty much at wide receiver. I play safety some. I have 25 catches for 460 yards and 3 touchdowns."

Owens possesses the ability to become a topnotch safety at the next level, but his value as a playmaker is likely to leave him at wide receiver, where he is ranked No. 11 in the Class of 2008 by Scout.com.

"My strength is my size," he said. "I'm bigger and stronger than most DBs and corners and I can get the ball a lot easier. I tend to intimidate a lot of guys." Owens knows that intimidation factor won't hold at the collegiate level and he's been working on improving his conditioning, strength and route running.

"I need to maximize everything in order to compete at the college level," he told Scout.com. "Up there everybody is at the same level, I won't be 'Jameel Owens - the star' anymore, I'll just be another guy. So, the harder I work now, the sooner I'll be able to make a name for myself at the next level."

He's already made an impression on the next level as his scholarship offers from Florida, LSU, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado would clearly indicate. Those schools are regarded as his favorite.

"Tennessee's been recruiting me since the first part of last year," he said. "Coach (Steve) Caldwell is recruiting me. I really don't know where I'm going to take my visits but I'll probably take my visit to Tennessee."

Owens owns a reported 2.5 core GPA and registered a 22 on his ACT. When asked how the Vols slow start in 2007 would impact his interest he said:

"It doesn't affect me. It's about the future and not right now so as I see it I could go help the team out."

We'd have to give Owens an A for being Athletic and another for being Astute.

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