Can Vols Cast a Shadow in Sunshine State?

The only thing better in Florida than the fishing, swimming and sunning is the recruiting, and the Volunteers are casting a wide net in the Sunshine State this year in hopes of landing some big-time talent.

This weekend alone the Vols have four prospects from Florida scheduled to visit including Sarasota offensive lineman Drew Miller, Orlando linebacker Brandon Siler, Jacksonville cornerback Tony Carter and Orlando defensive tackle Joe Joseph. Next week a trio of prospects from Tallahassee are slated to visit Tennessee.

The Vols are also hoping to add Ft. Lauderdale quarterback Brent Schaeffer to next fall's QB derby. He visited Knoxville last month and will be in Auburn this weekend. He has already visited Kansas State and South Florida and is expected to visit North Carolina State next weekend. Tennessee are also involved with QB Xavier Lee although they are a long shot to sign him.

Tennessee's increased presence in the land of sun and fun is due in large part to the contacts established by assistant Jimmy Ray Stephens, who recruited the state for the Gators when he was offensive line coach under Spurrier.

Miller, 6-5, 300, attends Riverview High School and is rated one of the nation's No. 25 offensive lineman. He recently made a verbal commitment to Florida but still plans to make an official visit this weekend and FSU next weekend.

Brandon Siler, 6-2, 215, 4.55, is the nation's No. 19 rated linebacker and he's much more open at the moment when it comes to his choices. He has already visited Florida and Maryland and may visit Mississippi. Otherwise, Tennessee is expected to be his last visit this weekend. Since Siler doesn't currently list a favorite that could be good news for UT.

Checking in at No. 21, Tony Carter (5-10, 145) is the probably the highest rated cover corner left on UT's recruiting board. Blessed with 4.37 speed and great transitional skills, Carter intercepted nine passes as a junior and four last season as team's avoided him like a root canal. Voted MVP at Gainesville Nike Camp last spring, Carter has already visited USC (Dec. 5) and North Carolina (Jan. 9). He'll visit Florida next weekend. This one looks like it will be a Tennessee-Florida fight to the finish.

Joe Joseph (6-3, 265, 5.31) may be underrated at No. 45 especially considering he has offers from Miami, Florida and Tennessee among many others. He has reportedly accepted the Canes offer even though he is still taking visits. He was at Florida on Jan. 9 and plans to make UT his last. Getting Joseph out of Florida will be tough, but so was getting a visit.

Establishing a presence in Florida may be a prelude to building a pipeline. Beating both the Gators and Canes didn't hurt. Neither does having Stephens.


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