Offensive linemen Fulton, Pair commit to play for Vols

Offensive linemen Fulton, Pair commit to play for Vols

June 30th, 2009 by Wes Rucker in Sports - College

KNOXVILLE -- Offensive linemen Zach Fulton and Marques Pair committed to University of Tennessee football coaches Monday afternoon, becoming the Volunteers' 10th and 11th public pledges for 2010.

Fulton, a 6-foot-5, 305-pounder from Homewood-Flossmoor High School near Chicago, is rated by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 21 guard prospect. Many Big Ten conference programs and Notre Dame have recruited him, but his only other confirmed scholarship offers so far were from Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.

Pair, a 6-6, 255-pounder from Sumter (S.C.) High, just recently started getting major program interest. Southeastern and Atlantic Coast Conference schools have been recruiting him, but UT was the only one known to make a scholarship offer.

Fulton and Pair are the third and fourth offensive players committed to the Vols for 2010, joining Kentucky fullback Channing Fugate and Miami offensive lineman Jose Jose.

Four of Tennessee's five projected starters for 2009 are seniors: left tackle Chris Scott, center Josh McNeil and guards Vlad Richard and Jacques McClendon.

"I feel great; it's a big weight off my back," Fulton told Scout.com. "I felt there was no point in waiting anymore.

"There's not any place whose facilities can match Tennessee's. There was no competition, as far as camp, academics and everything else. Everything went right."

Fulton left a UT camp four weeks ago with an offer after consistently impressing scouts and coaches. Some said he was the top lineman at the camp, which included several of the nation's top line prospects -- including Nashville's James Stone, Rivals' No. 36 overall prospect and No. 4 offensive tackle.

Pair also turned heads at that camp, according to several analysts who were present that day.

"Probably the best overall day on the offensive line was Zach Fulton's," Rivals analyst Barton Simmons said then. "He really looked good playing left guard most of the day. He really showed great strength and a great initial punch (against) the pass rush. Really, it was just a complete effort by Fulton, a guy who really saw his stock rise a lot."

The Vols are recruiting several prospects in Illinois. Most notably, they have been battling dozens of big programs for wide receiver Kyle Prater of Hillside Proviso West -- another Chicagoland school.

Prater, a 6-5, 205-pounder, is rated by Rivals as the nation's No. 3 receiver and No. 19 overall prospect.

Tennessee and several other Bowl Championship Series programs have made offers to 6-6 receiver Matt Milton from Mascoutah, Ill., near St. Louis.