May 11, 2008

Comparisons flatter, spur Askew

Look beyond the first name and the geographical similarities.

Jerod Askew has elicited comparisons to fellow Tidewater, Va., product and former Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo with his eye-popping highlights and off-the-charts workouts. The rising senior at Oscar Smith High School (Chesapeake, Va.) visited with Volunteers coaches, including Latrell Scott[/db[, during this hectic recruiting period and is awed by the comparisons to Mayo, whom the New England Patriots selected with the 10th overall pick in last month's NFL Draft.

"It's incredible to think I could someday be in a place where he's at right now," said the four-star linebacker and member of the Rivals250. "The comparison takes a lot of thought into it, but you could be in the same place that a player you're looking up to is at."

A 6-foot-1, 230-pound missile who arrives at impact with impressive explosiveness, Askew garnered additional offers last week from ACC residents Virginia Tech and Boston College. He also spoke with coaches from Ohio State who indicated an offer could be forthcoming.

"I take it as motivation because really it motivates me knowing that colleges I dreamed about visiting want to offer scholarships," Askew said. "It makes me want to work harder and harder each day. It's just like kind of stressful. There's a lot of thinking you have to do and there are so many pretty colleges that you would like to go to and all at once want to get you."

Having already visited Maryland, West Virginia and North Carolina plus with trips planned to Alabama and Tennessee, Askew has heard nothing but positives about UT.

"I think it's an awesome school and I loved it," Askew said of his impressions of Tennessee. "People have been telling me that that's where great linebackers are at, and I'm trying to be a part of that if it comes down to it. They told me it was like a lot of linebackers that have gotten drafted there. That's a good future to look forward to."

A gifted pass rusher who tallied 14 sacks last season, Askew admired the way [db]John Chavis deployed linebackers in his Tennessee scheme.

"I like blitzing a lot," Askew said. "This year I had 14 sacks and the year before, my sophomore year, I only had five sacks. I managed to go past that goal. Blitzing to me is just a wonderful thing to get back there and make plays. Causes a lot of lost yards.

"I feel my biggest strength is my quickness and speed, agility. As I go toward the tackle, I pick up speed. Acceleration to the ball. I think that's my strength on field."

Askew, however, wants to carry a more cerebral approach into his senior campaign.

"I also have to work on reading the whole field," he said. "If I read the whole field, I feel I can make better plays of getting to the ball."

With offers from across the country, Askew doesn't worry about distance from home impacting his college decision.

"I don't really care much as for how far I go; I want to be able to go to any school, even if far away, I want to be able to go there with a good fit," said Askew, 24 of his 120 tackles last season for losses. "If I can fit into a school, it doesn't matter how far or close. I just want it to be a really good fit there."

And, all things considered, Askew would like to make that decision before his senior campaign.

"You know, I really want to make it before my senior year. As I keep narrowing them down, more just pop up," Askew said. "The list is a little bit longer…more pop up while I'm narrowing them down. It's pretty tough to tell whether I'll commit before the season or during the season."

So, should Vols fans stay tuned?

"Oh yeah, Tennessee is definitely in there," he said.

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