A day with the Memphis blue-chippers

Updated: May 31, 2002, 12:38 PM ET
By By Tom Lemming, ESPN.com college football recruiting analyst | ESPN.com
MEMPHIS, March 28 -- From St. Louis, I traveled southeast to West Tennessee, stopping first in Jackson to see LB Daniel Brooks (6-3, 230, 4.6) of Central-Merry H.S. He looks great on film and is going to be one of the top five most heavily recruited players in the state. Mississippi and Tennessee are among the schools pursuing him.

I then drove to Memphis and stopped at the University of Memphis to see coach Tommy West and his staff at spring practice. Compared to the freezing weather I'd experienced in Illinois and St. Louis, Memphis' 55-degree afternoon seemed balmy.

I was able to see most of the top prospects in West Tennessee during my stop in the city. For starters, I really liked OL Aaron Grimes (6-4, 300) of Martin's Westview H.S. His family is from Michigan, so the Wolverines might have pretty good shot at him. I was also impressed with DT/TE Derek Chapman (6-4, 265) of Germantown and Brad Cottam (6-8, 235) of Cordova Evangel Christian, who has a lot of potential and a great frame that can be built up; he moves more like a basketball player, and with another 50 pounds, he'll be something.