It really shouldn't be a surprise that the first two Vol commits for the 2010 signing class are defensive linemen when the recruiting coordinator is the defensive line coach: the O. First, Jacques Smith committed about as early as he possibly could - an instate defensive end from Ooltewah who's made the next year his own personal campaign to convince Tennessee's best to stick with the Big Orange.
Now, a defensive tackle has given his early nod to Tennessee. Welcome Risean Broussard, a 6'-2", 290-lb bruiser from Lake Charles, Louisiana. As his bio in Scout (in the previous link) reads, he is "considered by many to be the top defensive tackle in the state, which makes this a considerable win over LSU (who hasn't offered him yet, according to both Rivals and Scout). The best information currently available on Broussard is from his storyline on Rivals, which gives this full-page detail. From the bio, this should spark your interest:
At the Schuman National Underclassman Combine in Baton Rouge, La., Broussard put up freakish numbers.
He measured in at 6-2.5, 288 pounds. He ran the 40 in 5.03 seconds, the short shuttle in 4.65 seconds, pumped out 34 reps of 185 pounds on bench and jumped a ridiculous 29.5 inches in the vertical and 9 feet 4 inches in the standing broad. Most of those numbers would be good for a skill player, much less a 288 pound defensive lineman.
"Everything went like I planned," Broussard said of the combine. "I wish I could've run a better 40 time but everything else has been A-ok."
The downside is that he's a very, very raw talent. One of the most physically gifted giants of the next recruiting cycle, he missed most of his sophomore year to an injury and all of his junior year to a school transfer (and subsequent eligibility rules). That's why he's currently unranked on Rivals and a 1-star on Scout. Well, that and it's so early in the '10 season that the stars aren't even close to handed out yet. But the short of it is that he has a long way to go.
Much of that should be made up during his senior year, when he finally gets to play for LaGrange. He'll get the time and attention necessary to improve technique that he's missed for nearly two years. Still, he would seem to be a 1-year project - perhaps a redshirt - prior to being a full-time producer on a college team. That's alright with me, though, and here's why.
Of all positions on the football field, deensive tackle is the one that requires the most athleticism relative to the polish of talent. It's the position with the least amount of thinking, and even a rough-cut bruiser can be very disruptive so long as he's not drawing all kinds of penalties in the process. I like that he's described as explosive and that he seems to have such stellar physical metrics, because those will be the truest limiting factors to his ceiling as a player.
It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that UT got his early verbal. First, the O. By this time, Orgeron is absolutely legendary as the Bayou king of recruiting and defensive linemen. (By the way, could Broussard be the guy that Orgeron was talking to in the background of Kiffin's interview on the Petros and Money Show? h/t rblakeh for the direct link to the mp3 file.) But back to the point, Orgeron is an absolute rock star in the recruiting business right now, and being a bayou homeboy has to be a huge binnie, especially when he'll be coaching Broussard in the future. Second, Lake Charles is where Janzen Jackson is from. If Jackson switched over to UT from LSU, then there is a lot of reason for Broussard to consider the Big Orange as well.
One final thought: much of Fulmer's success with the teams in the '90s and early '00s was his ability to recruit out of places like Louisiana. As the home schools of those states began to lock down the borders, UT's talent base suffered. But what we've seen so far is two very highly regarded recruits buck the local program for UT, with Jackson signing and Broussard commiting early (for what it means). The early trend appears to be in UT's favor, so it'll be something worth keeping an eye on over the course of the year.