Robert Marve chooses Purdue: where does Tennessee go from here?

No one should have been shocked that former Miami QB Robert Marve chose a free college education at Purdue over a Tennessee program that NCAA rules prohibited him from investigating. That's not meant to demean the Boilermaker program, which has produced some excellent quarterbacks over the years, including Drew Brees, Kyle Orton, Len Dawson, Bob Griese, and Mike Phipps.

Still, there could be almost no better opportunity for a good QB at a traditionally strong program than the current situation at Tennessee. Jonathan Crompton is almost certainly a lock to start this season, and unless he absolutely implodes, he will likely deprive junior Nick Stephens of much of an opportunity to gain additional experience in 2009. The only other QB on the roster is Mike Rozier, who's on the roster as a walk on mostly because, as a former pitcher for the Red Sox, Boston is paying his way. But nobody really knows anything about his ability as a signal caller right now as he's not taken a snap since 2004 in high school.

Unfortunately, I guess, Miami coach Randy Shannon would not extend the release granted Marve to Tennessee, Florida, or LSU, which meant that conversations with Tennessee were off limits.

So here we are. The Kiffin Chimera is still chasing Jake Heaps from Sammamish, Washington, Andrew Hendrix from Cincinnati, Ohio, and Jesse Scroggins from Lakeland, California. We have an outstanding offer to Blake Bell from Wichita, Kansas, but he's committed to Oklahoma. Tennessee will apparently take a look at former Gator QB Cameron Newton, who left Florida after being found in possession of a stolen laptop, and Matt Simms, who's been re-routed to junior college this season after transferring from Louisville.

It's pretty clear that Kiffin's overall QB recruiting plan was to improve the odds of landing an elite guy by not filling the roster with Plan Bs. Kiffin told highly touted Tahj Boyd and Bryce Petty out of last year's signing class, both of whom were committed to Tennessee, that they didn't fit the system. That makes sense, but it sure is a gamble.

We're still in the running for Heaps, but most believe he's most likely to choose BYU. Andrew Hendrix is a four-star guy with two handfuls of offers from decent, not great, schools. To me, at this time, Scroggins really seems to be our last best hope. Kiffin and his staff did a masterful job with the Class of 2009, landing the No. 1 player overall and a top 10 class while playing catch up the entire time. But none of that will matter if we don't have someone to take a snap next year.

Time is not quite running out to get one of those guys, but the witch has turned over the hourglass and the sand is falling.

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