RECRUITING: UF among top 5 for Tavares Kearney

Linebacker Tavares Kearney from Atlanta Tucker has been a high profile recruit all season long. Rated four stars by, he is ranked 26 among the nation's linebackers. He's got five schools on his list but the recruiting battle for this hard hitter from the Peach State is just starting to warm up.

One of the reasons Kearney's stock is rising faster than the hottest new blue chip on the NASDAQ is the superb senior turned in.

"It was pretty good," he said of the recently finished season. "We went on to go 12-1. I had 97 tackles, 18 sacks and 51 quarterback hurries. I played tight end on offense and had six catches for 187 yards and one touchdown."

Tucker took an unbeaten record into the Georgia semifinals only to see the quest for an unbeaten season and state title to slip away in the final seconds.

"We lost in the third round, right before the dome (championship game)," Tavares Kearney said. "Basically they kicked a field goal with point-2 seconds left on the clock."

He's heard from almost all the big boys in the recruiting battle, but he's narrowed it down to a list of five.

"I am interested in South Carolina, Ohio State, Maryland, North Carolina, and Florida," he said.

South Carolina will get his first visit, and the Gamecocks depth chart is quite appealing. .

"I am going up there (SC) this weekend on my first official visit," he said. "In my position there is only one guy ahead of me. My position coach, I have gotten to know him real well. I get to meet Coach Spurrier. Basically, I am going to go down there and see if that is where I want to be for the next four years. They have offered."

Ohio State has maintained contact, but with the Buckeyes, it's a waiting game.

"Coach Tucker came down the other day and I am waiting for them to call me back on Monday to see if they are going to offer me a scholarship or not." He said. "If they are, I am going to take a visit."

When he spoke of Maryland, it wasn't with a lot of confidence.

"I am not real big with them right now, but the coaches do call me a lot," he said.

There's a familiar name keeping up with Kearney when it comes to the University of Florida.

"Coach (Mike) Locksley," he said. "I don't really get phone calls but I get postcards everyday. He couldn't call because of the bowl game. Coach Locksley was at my school twice. Right after the season he came up."

North Carolina's reputation for heavy academic pressure has him taking a careful look into things at Chapel Hill.

"Really I am going to go there (North Carolina) on the 22nd," he said. "I probably will go check out a class and see a teacher or something but I heard it is very hard."

The school that lands him will have to meet a few specific requirements to earn his name on the dotted line on signing day.

"I want to be there for the next four years," he said. "I want to be on TV. I have to like the players and coaches."

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