Will Vols Have Cannon for an Arm?

In the hectic world of college football recruiting hyperbole rules, ego reigns and chaos often consumes common sense like a starving coyote wolfs down a sirloin steak. And yet amid the maelstrom and tumult of this static sphere there is a quiet center that's almost Zen like in its nature.

It's hardly a butterfly-flaps-its-wings allegory in which cause and effect results in someone passing away as if by divine design. However there are literally hundreds of cases in each class where some prospect makes a choice and that impacts another prospect he's never met and further down the line. For example: When quarterback Brent Schaeffer of Deerfield Beach, Fla., announces his choice on Wednesday between Tennessee and North Carolina State, it will likely spin Sinclair Cannon's football life in one of two directions. If Schaeffer picks Tennessee, Cannon will be made a wide receiver this fall, but if Schaeffer chooses N.C. State, Cannon will be given a look at quarterback for the Vols.

It's well known Tennessee wants to sign two signal callers in the Class of 2004, but if Schaeffer signs a pact with the Pack, the Vols will only have Erik Ainge as a freshman QB next fall. And they will have Cannon, who at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, with 4.48 speed is a virtual Schaeffer clone. He can also pass the ball and his passing arm lives up to his name — Cannon.

"I will not be playing defense," said the safety prospect rated No. 34 nationally by The Insiders. "I will be playing wide receiver or quarterback. I can throw a ball 65 yards in the air. We had good receivers and good running backs so we were balanced."

Greer High School in Greer, S.C., was also very successful, having captured a state title with a 13-2 mark in 2003. Cannon was a big part of that success throwing for more than 1,400 yards and rushing for more than 1,200. He bench presses 250 pounds, squats 450 pounds and has a 32-inch vertical leap which he could put to good use at wide receiver. It's not often you get a prospect that is in the top 35 at his position and still good enough an athlete to play two other positions at the major college level.

"It may depend on what Schaeffer does," Cannon allowed with an eye toward the future. "Coach (Phillip) Fulmer and coach (John) Chavis said they like my arm strength and speed. They're interested in me at quarterback, but I would like wide receiver too."

Cannon wore a number that fits both positions "19" and he wants to wear it at Tennessee. He chose the Vols over offers from Clemson, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, and Pittsburgh among others. Among UT's first commitments, Cannon revisited the recruiting process with a couple of late visits to Clemson and Maryland. In fact he received a call at home from a Clemson assistant just minutes before the kickoff of the Peach Bowl game between the Tigers and Tennessee. Cannon later conceded Clemson played a "pretty good" game, but he said he never really wavered on his favorite shade of orange.

"It wasn't that hard of a decision," he said. "The coaches and the relationship I have with them was what made the difference. Me and coach Chavis are close and everything, we talk almost every night."

Starting Wednesday night, they can talk about whether Cannon will be catching or passing the football for Tennessee this fall.


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