Catching Up With Q

Finding young wide receivers ready to crack UT's veteran rotation is a surefire way to spark competition, get better production and build toward the future.

Enter true freshman Quintin Hancock of Saint Augustine, Fla., who appears to possess the ability and experience needed to make an early impact at the school formerly known as Wide Receiver U.

A versatile athlete with good size, (6-2, 192), plenty of speed (4.51) and sure hands, Hancock was a four-year starter who played both ways and helped lead his team to a perfect 15-0 record and the Class-3A state title in 2005. Overall, Saint Augustine compiled an impressive 48-5 mark over those four years, which means Hancock started 40 regular season games in addition to 13 playoff contests. It also means he is deeply indoctrinated in the ways of winning football.

Hancock, who is known as "Q" by friends and teammates, was a standout on both sides of the ball, but his receiving numbers reflect a run oriented offense more than any lack of talent on his part. As a senior, he caught 27 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns. At free safety he had 56 tackles with four interceptions. In a 12-1 junior campaign that ended in the semifinals of the state playoffs, he had 50 tackles with four INTs and caught 30 passes for 410 yards and four TDs.

He could play either position in college, but his potential is probably higher as a pass catcher. In fact, he was rated the nation's No. 24 wide receiver prospect by noted recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, but No. 71 by However a blue blood recruiting pedigree doesn't always translate to big-time production in college, as UT's highly celebrated Class of 2003, featuring three high school All-Americans, has proven to this point. Exhibit two: Joey Kent who went from unknown to renown and became UT's all-time leading receiver.

It will be interesting to see where Hancock falls in the 2006 prospect pecking order four years down the road. If confidence counts for anything it should be high.

"I played both safety and receiver, but the position I prefer is receiver," Hancock stated. "Tennessee recruited me as a receiver. They are looking for people to come in and play there."

The opportunity to play early was attractive to Hancock, but so was everything else about Tennessee.

"I liked everything about Tennessee," of his instant affinity. "I liked the coaches, the facilities and hanging out with the players. That's what made me commit on my visit. I've met Trooper Taylor (UT wide receivers coach) and I think he's a good coach and motivator."

Hancock visited UT in the middle of January and called an immediate halt to the recruiting process, informing the staffs at Georgia Tech, Nebraska and Maryland that he had chosen the Vols.

In keeping with the tradition of Tennessee receivers from the glory days, Hancock has kept very busy as a valuable member of his high school track team this spring.

"I run track," he said. "I compete in the 400 meters, the triple jump, the 4x400 and the 200 meters. My specialty is the triple jump. I have a 44-8 in the triple jump."

Hancock has a 34-inch vertical leap and bench presses a very respectable 260 pounds. He has good timing and is as physical going after ball as he is blocking defenders.

"I think my strength as a receiver is my ability to pull down the jump ball," he said. "I concentrate on catching the ball and can time my leaps. I've got good speed and I've worked to become a good blocker."

Hancock said his greatest influence as a receiver is Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro Chad Johnson.

"I like Chad Johnson," he said. "I don't do the celebrations like he does, but I do other things like he does."

Undoubtedly, Hancock would like to do those type of things for Tennessee, and he believes he'll get the chance to show he can make a contribution.

"I'll probably play this year," he said. "I liked the idea of being able to play early. I think I'm going up on July 5. I'll stay on campus, but I don't know who I'm going to room with... or what number I'm going to wear."

One number in Hancock's favor when it comes to playing early is his age, which is comparatively advanced for a true freshman. This son of the Sunshine State, who lives a stone's throw from the Fountain of Youth, will turn 19 on Sept. 13, or just three days before the Vols take on the Florida Gators in the annual SEC epic.

How's that for a golden opportunity to come of age?

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