S.C. DB Admires UT From A Far

In recruiting, a school's reputation and a prospect's perception are often enough to assure a courtship even if the suitor isn't calling.

Such appears to be the case with Davon Heath of Lancaster High School and the University of Tennessee. Heath, a 5-11, 190-pound, defensive back with a penchant for physical play, lists UT among the top five schools on his early recruiting list despite the fact he hasn't had personal conduct with anyone from the Vols.

"Tennessee is in my top five," he said. "I'm hearing from N.C. State, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Clemson, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida State and Virginia. I'd like to play in the SEC or the ACC. That's my goal. I don't really have a favorite."

Heath said Florida State was his favorite school growing up and he will attend football camp in Tallahassee on July 9. He has already attended camp at Clemson and is being heavily recruited by South Carolina which also figures heavily into his options. He's always had an interest in Tennessee and literature he has received in the mail from the school has piqued his appetite for a closer look.

"They're not too far from us," he said of UT in relation to Lancaster, S.C. "I think that would be a good school to go to. I was reading some of the things they were sending me about the school and I wouldn't mind going there."

To this point, Tennessee hasn't shown as much interest in return, but that could be changing given Heath's reputation for being a head knocker, combined with the fact UT's staff is still evaluating positions of need and the best prospects to fill them. That process is further impeded by recent departures via transfers, dismissals and academic suspensions.

As Tennessee coaches takes a closer look at Heath they'll likely discover a prototypical strong safety in the mode of a Fred White. A starter since his sophomore season, Heath recorded 96 tackles, 58 solo, 13 for losses including a pair of sacks. He also intercepted a pass while breaking up another 19. Heath's play highlighted an otherwise disappointing season that saw the Bruins go 3-8. He's aiming to have an even better senior season and hoping to reward Lancaster fans for sticking with the Bruins during a tough campaign.

""We just want to win games and improve as a team in 2003" Heath stated. "Our fans have always been behind us and they support us 100 percent. We would love to show them how much we appreciate them by winning the big games and winning a region championship."

If the Bruins are to get back on track in ‘03, Heath, who hits like a freight train, is most qualified to lead the way. In last season's opener against Andrew Jackson High School, he recorded 13 tackles, eight solo, and had two fumble recoveries. The next week against Crestwood he had a 12-tackle game that forced opponents to account for his presence the rest of the year.

"I think my style of play is hard hitting and getting to the ball fast," he said. "There was a play last year where I came across the field and made the tackle behind the line of scrimmage. I hustle to the ball and I think I have a good nose for the ball."

In addition to football, the versatile athlete also plays varsity basketball and baseball at Lancaster. The fact he manages to juggle this challenging sports slate and still maintain a 3.4 grade point average is testament to his work ethic.

This summer Heath is working hard to improve his strength and sharpen his coverage skills through informal workouts with teammates. He currently benches 230 pounds, squats 415 and lifts 245 in the clean and jerk. He runs a 4.6 which is further augmented by excellent anticipation. Besides the camps at Clemson and Florida State, Heath will attend a team camp at Catawba College in North Carolina.

Heath, who plans to study business management in college, is the cousin of Earl Cunningham who was the No. 3 selection in the 1986 Major League Draft. While Heath likes baseball and can play virtually any position on the diamond, his first love is football.

"Man, I live for Friday nights," he said of high school football. "There is nothing else like it. Everyone is at the game and everyone is rooting for us. I get excited just thinking about it and can't wait."

It sounds like Heath would be a natural to play at Neyland Stadium on football Saturdays.

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