Vols Back in Hawthorne Race

According to a story published this afternoon by Scout.com's Andrew Bone, the Vols are back in the hunt for Homewood, Ala., wide receiver Tim Hawthorne, who is rated No. 7 nationally at his position.

"I'm not going to Florida this weekend," Hawthorne told Bone. "I'm going to take a visit to South Carolina.

"I'm looking at either Tennessee or Louisville for my last visit. Coach Fulmer is supposed to be coming by for an in-home visit really soon as well."

If Fulmer can convince Hawthorne to spend his last weekend as a prospect touring UT's campus, the Vols might actually be able to pull off what looked like Mission Impossible a couple of weeks ago. That's when the hard-to-cover Hawthorne was listing six schools among his finalists, but Tennessee wasn't one of them.

"I am still not sure where I am going, but I am about ready to go ahead and make my decision," Tim Hawthorne told Bone on Jan. 6. "It's still even between six schools. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Louisville are all still in it with me."

The Vols have rallied since that point as offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe has made Hawthorne a high priority target since returning to his former post at UT. It's interesting to note that another wideout from Alabama, Joey Kent, was a big part of Cutcliffe's success in his first stint on The Hill and went on to become the Vols all-time leading receiver.

Hawthorne, 6-21/2, 205, 4.60, set receiving records at Homewood High School as a junior with 84 catches for 1,360 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Vols are in dire need of a feature receiver in the Class of 2006 with Jayson Swain and Bret Smith entering their senior season and Robert Meachem a potential candidate for early entry in NFL Draft. Hawthorne is one of the few wideout prospects with the caliber to play in the SEC as a true freshman.

Could Hawthorne be Tennessee's catch of the day come signing day?

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