RECRUITING: Long Range Weapon

Daniel Lincoln's numbers look a lot like any topnotch running back, corner back or safety prospect. He's 6-foot-0, 190 pounds, runs a 4.5 time in the 40, bench presses 325 pounds, squats 460 and power cleans 285, but here's the kicker — he's a kicker.

Rated the top kicking prospect in the Sunshine State this year, Daniel Lincoln is a proven commodity although kicking field goals is still a bit of an oddity at Ocala Forest High School. In two seasons he has connected on 11-of-15 field goal attempts with a long of 49 yards. Also a punter, Lincoln averaged 38.3 yards per effort as a junior and was twice named to the all-state team.

At the combine in Miami he put all of his kickoffs from the 35 yard-line at least five yards deep into the end zone with a laudable hang time of four seconds plus. He impressed scouts with his combination of field goal distance and accuracy while kicking off grass.

"Extremely powerful leg," the combine report begins. "All kickoffs from the 35 were 5-7 yards deep. Hang times were constantly over 4.0. Good accuracy and incredible leg strength. Gets to the ball quickly. Nice form. Very consistent on everything he does. Professional demeanor, on and off the field."

Lincoln's leg strength is legendary. He has nailed field goals of 67 yards in practice and is a true scoring threat anytime his team crosses midfield.

Furthermore, given his size, strength and speed he adds another tackler to coverage teams. Interestingly enough, the last kicking specialist the Vols signed from the state of Florida was punter Justin Reed. Although he didn't develop as a punter in college, Reed did become a legitimate pass-catching tight end and scored a critical TD in the Vols 30-28 victory over Florida last season.

To this point Lincoln has yet to receive a scholarship offer from a major Division I school. However there's plenty of interest and he hopes that situation changes as he embarks on a tour of several southern campuses this month with stops slated for LSU, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The Vols and Tigers appear to be the most aggressive suitors with each talking about having Lincoln in on an official visit.

"I talked to the LSU coaching staff about it and they've been pretty serious about that," he told Big Red Report's Brandon Cavanaugh of the official visit proposal. "I've talked to Coach (Greg) Adkins at Tennessee and we've played with that idea. Iowa has mentioned it, Vanderbilt has. As of right now, the only ones I am planning on for sure are LSU and Tennessee."

Lincoln is also sure of his criteria for choosing a school, and education will play a major part as his 4.6 GPA and 1600 SAT scores vividly attest.

"I'm very interested in earning my degree in either business or law, so I will definitely consider those two factors and what kinds of opportunities are available in those areas," he told Cavanaugh. "I'm taking a couple A/P classes to align myself with those opportunities. I spoke with the business department of LSU, so I've had a little bit of contact with them. Schools like Purdue and Vanderbilt, as well."

Lincoln lists LSU, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue and Tennessee as his favorites. With James Wilhoit entering his junior season, the Vols are looking to add a kicker to the roster. They may decide to sign one to count toward the class of 2007 since scholarship numbers are in short supply. Lincoln has indicated he made walk on at Gainesville if he doesn't receive an offer.

Other kickers the Vols are courting include: Nathan Franklin of Wilmington, N.C. and Ryan Donahue of Chicago, Ill., who is rated the nation's No. 2 kicker by UT has yet to offer any kicking prospect a scholarship.

Odds are Lincoln will figure into the Vols' football future, even if they don't sign him.

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