Vols get much-needed offensive line help

Tennessee will take all the offensive linemen it can get at this point and picked up one of the top-rated tackles in the country Wednesday when James Stone of Nashville signed with the Vols.

Stone is rated by ESPN's Scouts Inc. as the ninth best tackle prospect in the country, and he picked Tennessee over Alabama.

Indirectly, the Vols can thank former coach Lane Kiffin.

Stone and his high school coach have both said that he wanted no part of Kiffin or former Tennessee recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron. Had that regime stayed in Knoxville, Stone would have almost certainly gone to Alabama.

"He always liked UT, but he wasn't going to go there with Kiffin and Orgeron," Maplewood High School coach Ralph Thompson told The Tennessean. "He wasn't really considering UT as long as Kiffin and Orgeron were there. Once (Derek) Dooley got the job and Kiffin was out of there, once he was able to meet Dooley and see what kind of guy he was, he was all for going to UT."