July 29, 2008

Tennessee TE looking for Ole Miss offer

Thad McHaney couldn't participate in Ole Miss' invitation-only elite camp last Saturday.

That doesn't mean the weekend was a wasted one for the Brentwood (Brentwood Academy), Tenn., tight end.

"I went down the day before and met all of the coaches," McHaney said. "We just hung around about five or six hours, me and (high school teammate and defensive tackle prospect Barry Dabney). I didn't compete because I'm nursing a hamstring. I pulled it twice in track season and it's lingering a little. It's frustrating."

McHaney, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound, three-star standout who is ranked No. 13 among all prospects in Tennessee and No. 28 among all tight end prospects nationally by Rivals.com, left Oxford without an Ole Miss offer, but not before receiving indications that one might be forthcoming.

"They said they were coming after me," McHaney said. "I guess I'm expecting an offer soon. They're family-oriented, so I respect that. When they offer somebody, they really want you. (Ole Miss offensive coordinator) Coach (Kent) Austin was pretty passionate about that. I get along with him great. He's very real and straight-forward about what he does. He's a great guy."

McHaney has taken trips to Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and Ole Miss this summer. The Volunteers, Cardinals, Rebels and Vanderbilt, McHaney said, make up his early top four.

"I'm still pretty open," McHaney said. "I'm looking to have a decision pretty soon, probably after I take my next ACT in the second week of September."

McHaney sports offers from Louisville, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Auburn, Marshall, Oregon and South Carolina.

"It's pretty much going to come down to the people, how real they are, what are their morals, what are they about, what are they trying to accomplish," McHaney said.

That could, McHaney said, spell good news for Ole Miss if the Rebels offer, for the Ole Miss staff made a very favorable impression over the weekend.

"Ole Miss was very straight-forward," McHaney said. "They weren't fake or anything. Most schools kind of put up a front. Ole Miss didn't at all. I did like that."

Like many other prospects interested in how Ole Miss looks on the field in the first year of the Houston Nutt era, McHaney said he'll be interested to see how quickly the Rebels reverse their recent struggles in Southeastern Conference play.

"I'll be watching, of course, but that won't be what I base my decision on," McHaney said. "It's all going to be on who helps make me the person I'll be in four years and who's going to help me develop."

As for McHaney's on-field game, he wants to work on his speed and quickness during his senior season.

"I'm able to use my hands and get off blocks," McHaney said. "My weaknesses are I need to focus more on little things and be more technical, learn more about technique, stuff like that."

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