RECRUITING: UT spies speedy WR

Some receivers have great size. Some have great speed. Very few have both. That's why Tennessee recruiters are in hot pursuit of a muscular speedster from Zephyrhills (Fla.) High School.

His name is Bryan Thomas, and he's everything you'd want a wideout to be -- combining a 6-2, 192-pound frame with 4.39 speed over 40 yards. He exploited these attributes well enough to post 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last fall. Also utilized as a defensive back, he recorded 93 tackles and three interceptions.

No wonder he already has 12 scholarship offers, including one from Tennessee. The Vols, in fact, are in his top three at the moment.

''I¹m leaning towards three schools right now,'' Thomas told Ryan Jordan of Scout.com. ''I like Tennessee, Ohio State and the University of Florida but Florida is number one for me. I¹m familiar with the area. I love the coaching staff, the facilities and the campus. I like the classes for the undergrads and overall I just really, really like it.''

In addition to Thomas' fondness for the Gators, another factor weighing against Tennessee is his desire to announce a college choice early.

''I¹m leaning towards making a commitment soon,'' he told Jordan. ''I don¹t want to wait but my parents want me to wait and make sure. They want me see some more schools up close instead of just deciding based on the program and the football.''

Thomas is impressed with Florida's coaches, noting: ''I like their personality and they¹re just real with you. They don¹t beat around the bush.''

He also likes what he's seen of Phil Fulmer and Company, noting: ''The coaching staff seems great. One of the people in our community went to school there and he liked his time playing football for them.''

Thomas' interest in Ohio State comes down to this: ''I like the media guide and the newsletters they send me,'' he said.

In addition to the three schools already mentioned, Thomas says he has offers from West Virginia, Duke, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Connecticut, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida International.

With C.J. Fayton and Chris Hannon down to their final season of eligibility, Tennessee stands to lose a couple of its top receivers after the 2005 season. That makes signing a playmaker of Bryan Thomas' ilk an overwhelming recruiting priority.


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