Watch out for Hannon

He's 6-4 and 190 pounds. He can run like the wind -- recently clocking a 4.28 over 40 yards -- and jump like a kangaroo. His hands are so sticky teammates call him ''Spiderman.'' So, after two years spent adjusting from quarterback to wide receiver, Tennessee junior Chris Hannon appears on the verge of a breakout season.

He showed flashes last fall, notably against Auburn (five fourth-quarter catches for 95 yards) and Mississippi State (four catches for 69 yards and three TDs). What he didn't show was consistency, but he says there's a reason for that.

''It was a matter of me being out there in certain situations,'' he said. ''The Auburn game I was out there a lot in those (passing) situations, and I had five catches for 95 yards. But the next game against Georgia we mostly ran the ball when I was in the game. It depends on how much I'm in there and how I'm used.''

Hannon believes he'll be used more effectively this fall. That's why his goal for 2004 is pretty ambitious. He hopes to double last year's reception total.

''I just need to gain the coaches' confidence so they'll throw me the ball,'' he said. ''And every time they throw me the ball I've got to make something good happen, so they'll keep throwing me the ball.''

The promise Hannon showed at times in 2003 has Vol fans buzzing about his potential. He hears the buzz, and finds it very flattering.

''It feels real good,'' he said. ''I have a lot to prove, and I want to show them what I can do.''

One thing Hannon wants to do is exploit his blazing speed.

''I broke Donte' Stallworth's 40-yard dash record (for Vol receivers) with a 4.28,'' he said. ''Now that I've conquered that, I'm ready to conquer everything else.''

Helping Hannon achieve his goals this fall is the fact he has a glut of talented receivers around him. Robert Meachem and Bill Grimes are up from the redshirt ranks, while Jayson Swain and Bret Smith are one year more mature. Those four, along with veterans Tony Brown, C.J. Fayton and Derrick Tinsley, should open things up for UT's passing game.

''That's going to open it up a lot,'' Hannon said. ''The competition here is like what you see at Miami and Florida State. We've just got to come out and play. With all of the talent we have, there's going to be a lot of opportunities for C.J. (Leak) or Rick (Clausen) to spread the ball around and get us some wins.''

Although UT has two touted incoming freshman QBs -- Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer -- Hannon figures they are unlikely to beat out Leak and Clausen anytime soon.

''It's kind of impossible for a freshman to come in and learn all the audibles and things he'd need to catch C.J. and Rick,'' Hannon said. ''Whichever quarterback prevails, the receiver corps will back him up 100 percent because they both have the tools to win a championship.''


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