Tallahassee Trio Trips To Tennessee

Three of Tennessee's biggest needs for the Class of 2004 are offensive line, linebacker and cornerback. Enter Calvin Darity, Rodney Gallon and Joe Manning of Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Fla.

This talented trio will be in Knoxville this weekend on their next to last official visit. All three players will visit hometown Florida State next week and they visited Nebraska together on Dec. 12. Gallon and Manning visited Auburn together on Jan. 16. None of the prospects name a favorite at this point although FSU is in the most favorable position in terms of location and last visit.

Calvin Darity, 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, is rated the nation's No. 9 offensive lineman by The Insiders. He's is quick off the ball, athletic in the open field and an agile pass blocker capable of keeping pass rushers at arm's length. With a 285-pound bench press and a 350-pound squat Darity will need to get stronger to play at the next level, but he compensates with quickness and leverage. Darity is the second highest rated offensive lineman left on Tennessee's board behind Roland Martin at No. 5. Martin will also be in Knoxville this weekend. Darity would be a good get who could help fortify UT's O-line for the future.

"I went (to Nebraska) with my teammates Joe Manning and Rodney Gallon," Darity said when asked if the teammates planned to attend the same college. "But we're all gonna make our own decision. We're not planning to go to the same school or anything."

Rodney Gallon, 6-0, 205, is rated the nation's No. 29 linebacker and, with a sub 4.5 clocking, he has the speed to play in the secondary. Gallon, who recorded a combined 242 tackles in his junior and senior seasons, has a nose for the football and taste for contact. He was in attendance at Tennessee's five-overtime victory over Alabama and said: "It was one of the greatest experiences of my life." A great fit for Tennessee's dazzle-with-speed defense.

"Tennessee is another team that believes in playing with a fast defense, Gallon said. "It looks like a system where I believe I would fit in."

With Trimane Goddard and Michael Grant committing to home state North Carolina and Georgia, respectively, last week, Joe Manning becomes the second highest rated cornerback on Tennessee's board at No. 39 nationally, behind No. 21 Tony Carter, a prospect who may or may not visit the Vols. At 6-foot, 170 pounds with 4.4 speed, Manning is a virtual clone of former Vol Teddy Gaines. As a senior at Lincoln he had 67 tackles, five interceptions, four blocked kicks and a sack. Small package but an explosive hitter who showed very well in the Florida-California All-Star Game.

Getting one of these three would be a boost to Tennessee's recruiting class, winning the trifecta would be a blast.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories