Vols' FB Hopes Rest with Holbert

If Vol fans learned anything from Chris Pressley's commitment to Wisconsin three days after he indicated he was leaning to Tennessee, it's this: the euphoria that often surrounds a big visit weekend can wear off quickly.

Now, if that condition applies to David Holbert of Brentwood Academy, the Vols may well have their Class of 2004 fullback before the end of the week. Much like Chris Pressley, who came to Tennessee with Wisconsin a solid leader and left with the Vols in a virtual dead heat, Holbert favored Tennessee before going to Gainesville, but left with the Gators as his co-leader. Has the luster of Holbert's Florida visit began to be overshadowed by the opportunity to play in his home state and please his parents in the process?

If the latter is his decision, the Vols add an impact player at a position of need and retain one of Tennessee's brightest gridiron lights. That would offset the loss of the 6-foot-2, 254-pound Pressley who is an intriguing prospect with 4.55 speed, a 405 pound bench press and a 690-pound squat. Pressley, who is rated No. 54 among backs nationally, rushed for 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior at Woodbury, N.J.

By comparison, the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Holbert also runs a 4.55, bench presses 320 and squats 520. He rushed for 700 yards in only 90 carries and scored 20 touchdowns. However, Holbert, who is ranked No. 49 among the nation's running backs by The Insiders, played against better competition and in a program renown for producing pigskin prospects.

While Pressley is a little bigger and stronger, Holbert is a more proven prospect and he's more important to Tennessee than Pressley. If the Vols lose Holbert to Florida, they'll have to face him four times while they won't see Wisconsin unless it's in a bowl game. The battle for superiority in the SEC East hinges on a delicate balance, and a quality fullback is essential to the success of a power-I team. Plus, the history of the Tennessee-Florida series virtually always favors the team that gains more yardage on the ground.

Tennessee has already lost a top flight tight end from Nashville MBA in Tom Santi, who is rated No. 5 nationally. UT has yet to secure a commitment from another tight end as Chris Brown of New Orleans is also rethinking his future after a visit to Florida. Failing to get a tight end and fullback that can help the Vols next fall is untenable.

Neither can Tennessee afford to lose a prospect to the Gators, especially one who hails from The Volunteer State.


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