Florida QB Shows Interest In UT

Waynesville, N.C., star signal caller Jonathan Crompton, appears to be Tennessee's top choice at quarterback in the Class of 2005, but the Vols are showing interest in another Jonathan as a possible fall back plan.

Jonathan Garner of Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Fla., has announced plans to attend football camp at Tennessee this summer. As a starter the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Garner has led his team to the playoffs three years in a row, winning the Florida Class 5A title last season and to the state semifinals as a sophomore.

He threw for 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior against a mere three interceptions. Although those numbers are modest when compared to most top scholastic signal callers, they reflect the fact Mainland was a ground oriented attack built around tailback Vince Wilson than any lack of performance by Garner. Besides, a quarterback's first job is to win and the rangy operator managed to do that against intense competition in a state loaded with gridiron talent.

Noted for his arm strength. leadership skills, exceptional poise and athletic intelligence, Garner maintains a 4.0 GPA and has scored a sterling 1120 on his SAT. He earned honorable mention all-state honors last season en route to the first state championship by any team from Volusia County.

Like Brent Schaeffer who the Vols signed this year, Garner is a left-hander from the Sunshine State with a track record of success. He already has offers from Mississippi, Stanford, Memphis and Louisville and is considering those schools along with Georgia, Tennessee and South Florida which haven't offered, yet. Notre Dame is another school believed to ready to offer Garner. Stanford could be the early favorite given it's level of early interest along with it's reputation for high academics and tradition of quality quarterbacks.

"Coach McDonnell wrote me and said that they want to offer me, but they are a topnotch institution and they want to see me in person before they offer," Garner told The Insiders Mike Eubanks of The Bootleg.com. "I'm not quite sure how soon that will happen. Either he's coming down to see my spring ball, or I'm going up there for a camp, which is a possibility at this point."

With a 40 time reported at 4.8, Garner isn't nearly as fast as Schaeffer but he may be gaining on the quicksilver QB from Deerfield Beach, Fla.

"I drop back well and read the play as it goes," he said of his style. "I'm a drop back, play-action passer. I throw good intermediate routes and have a good three-step fade. My goal is to improve my 40 speed to 4.6 and I want to improve my arm strength. I'd like to throw the long ball better. I'm also working on reading defenses better."

The level of Tennessee's involvement with Garner is likely to depend on Crompton's decision, which he, reportedly, plans to make before the start of his senior season. After signing two quarterbacks in the Class of 2005 and adding Rick Clausen to scholarship last spring it's unlikely UT would sign more than one QB next year.

J.C. is the QB UT fans are most interested in, but having a back-up plan is always advisable when chasing a top ranked signal caller, and J.G. appears to be a viable alternative if, for some reason, Plan A doesn't come to fruition.

The story of two Jonathans at quarterback is significant because of the tale of two Chrises i.e. Sims and Leak.


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