Mystery man: Ulysses Alexander

The announcement of Ulysses Alexander's signing earlier today sent Tennessee fans scurrying for their recruiting lists. They didn't find him among the five-star prospects, the four-star prospects or even the three-star prospects. Instead, they found him listed among the two-star guys ... meaning he's a full-blown sleeper.

Some fans thought the announcement of his signing was a joke. A rumor even circulated that he was a mixed-up kid who had faxed his scholarship papers to UT by mistake. Well, it was no joke and mistake. Ulysses Alexander is legit. He's a 6-foot-4, 200-pound receiver from Northeast High School of Miami, Fla.

Playing tight end in a run-oriented offense, Alexander numbered eight touchdown grabs among his 40 catches in 2004. His only recognition was honorable mention All-Dade County. He played sparingly as a junior in 2003 due to injuries. His greatest claim to fame is that he's a nephew of hip-hop pioneer Luther Campbell of 2LiveCrew.

So, how did Tennessee find this diamond in the rough?

''Trooper (Taylor) evaluated him in an all-star game,'' UT head man Phillip Fulmer said. ''He's a big, physical receiver. He played in an offense that ran the ball a lot. But, having seen him in practice and in the all-star game, we felt this was a great opportunity for us to steal one.

''I think we have.''

Alexander is one of four wideouts in this signing class, and all are lanky guys. Alexander and Slick Shelley (Fort Smith, Ark.) are 6-4. Josh Briscoe, already enrolled, stands 6-3. Nashville's Austin Rogers is the runt of the group, checking in at a mere 6-2.

The obvious question: Was height a priority among UT's receiver signees or was it just a coincidence?

''We've had some success with those (taller) guys,'' Fulmer said. ''We like the mismatches we can get at corner.''

After signing pass-catchers blessed with exceptional height in the 2005 class, Fulmer said he plans to sign receivers with exceptional speed for the 2006 class.

''I'll say this on the front end: One of our priorities next year will be to get a speed guy or two in our receiving class,'' he said. ''It's not that we're slow by any stretch of the imagination, but we're looking to sign a couple of guys who really have some jets ... whether they're 6-4 or 5-10.''


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