Hannon's hot; will it last?

Vol receiver Chris Hannon gave a near-perfect performance last Saturday against Mississippi State.

His first catch produced an 18-yard touchdown. His second catch produced a 30-yard touchdown. His third catch produced a five-yard touchdown.

Three catches ... three touchdowns. You can't do any better than that. Alas, Hannon's final catch -- a 16-yarder from backup quarterback C.J. Leak -- did not produce a touchdown, just a first down. Oh, well. Even Barry Bonds doesn't hit a home run every at-bat.

Hannon's dazzling performance against MSU (4 catches, 69 yards, 3 touchdowns) has Vol fans buzzing. Of course, they also were buzzing when he caught five balls for 95 yards -- all in the fourth quarter -- against Auburn in Game 5. A week later, however, he returned to obscurity by catching just one pass for nine yards against Georgia. He was only slightly more productive in Games 7, 8 and 9 before resurfacing in Game 10.

So, is he going to win the Heisman next year?

''I hope Chris Hannon wins a STARTING JOB next year,'' Vol offensive coordinator Randy Sanders quipped. ''We'll worry about one thing at a time.''

All joking aside, Hannon has the tools to be a star. He's Tennessee's tallest receiver (6-feet-4) and Tennessee's fastest receiver (4.31 over 40 yards). He's surprisingly elusuve -- having played option quarterback in high school -- and he's so sticky-fingered that teammates call him ''Spider Man.''

So, why hasn't the slender sophomore made his mark before now?

''Chris is a guy who had to learn to play receiver; he was a quarterback in high school,'' Sanders said. ''He has the ability to run and he catches the ball pretty well. But he's still learning how to play wide receiver, and that's not as simple as it sounds. It's easy to learn what to do but learning how to do it fast enough is the real challenge.''

Once he learns that lesson, though, Hannon could develop into one of UT's all-time greats.

''He is starting to become what he can become,'' Sanders said. ''Chris has had flashes. He obviously is a player with ability. How high he goes depends on how hard he works. Potentially, he is as talented as anybody we've got if not MORE talented, just from a height/speed standpoint.''

Inside Tennessee Top Stories