RECRUITING: UT wants big-time 'backer

After signing two prospects out of Miami last February, Tennessee is hoping to dip into the talent-rich South Florida city and grab a dynamic defender for the Class of 2006.

Antonio Lowery is a 6-2, 210-pound linebacker at Christopher Columbus High School who is getting a lot of attention from college recruiters.

''I've now gotten 22 written offers, Lowery told Mike Bakas of ''They started early and haven't stopped. I have my list narrowed down to 10 right now -- Rutgers, UM (Miami), Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, Boston College, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and N.C. State.''

Lowery registered 51 tackles, five forced fumbles, two sacks, and two interceptions as a junior last season. This fall he'll be grabbing passes, as well as grabbing opposing ballcarriers.

''After what I did at the Rutgers camp playing receiver my coaches have told me that I'll be playing receiver this year too,'' he told Bakas. ''Whatever helps our team win, I'm OK with that.''

Lowery, who reportedly clocks 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, uses his quickness to great advantage on defense.

''Whenever I see the ball, I go get it,'' he said. ''I get there quickly and I do whatever I can to take it away. That's just the way I play.''

The Vols signed a couple of prospects from Miami for the Class of 2005 -- Demetrice Morley (Killian High) and wideout Ulysses Alexander (Northwestern High). Interestingly enough, Northwestern has another wideout with major college potential this fall, Tim Brown.

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