Two programs with rich traditions are in the hunt for Josh Malone.
The ESPN Watch List receiver from Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp will visit Ohio State this weekend for the Michigan game. When asked about the Buckeyes, the junior said, "It's a great program rich with tradition."
Malone has been prime target for Tennessee. He has consistently shown strong interest in the program despite it's recent struggles. Malone said he's not worried about the Vols' decision to fire third-year coach Derek Dooley.
"I know anywhere I go a coach can leave for a new job or get fired so it's not that big of a factor, but I'm just wondering who would be the new coach," Malone said.
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin has been mentioned as a possible successor. Franklin has helped Vandy become bowl eligible in both of his seasons in Nashville.
"I think he is a good coach and he is turning around the Vandy program, so he's doing great," said Malone, who has also shown strong interest in the Commodores.
Tennessee's standing with Malone could largely depend on who the Vols keep on their rebuilt staff. Malone has grown close to running backs coach Jay Graham, a former standout tailback for the Vols.
"I'm just wondering if the new coach is going to keep any off the staff," Malone said.
Keeping Graham would certainly help. When asked about retaining him, Malone said, "It would mean Tennessee would still be in good position with me because coach-player relationship is important to me in recruiting."
Malone figures to be one of the top prospect in Tennessee for the 2014 class.