Talent Abounds in Volunteer State

Timing is as essential to successful college recruiting as location, and the timing for a Tennessee team coming off its first losing season in 17 years, as well as, its lowest ranked signing class in recent memory just couldn't be better.

Not only is there excellent depth for in-state talent this year there are more play makers and impact players than anytime since 1998. Furthermore, this talent is spread throughout the length and breadth of the Volunteer State.

The Vols have already secured a commitment from defensive back Anthony Anderson of Knoxville Austin-East High School and are in hot pursuit of Alcoa defensive end Rae Sykes and wide receiver Kyrus Lanxter. They have offered Knoxville Catholic running back/defensive back Harrison Smith. In west Tennessee they are in the hunt for Huntingdon linebacker Chris Donald, Memphis Wooddale wide receiver Roderick Davis and Memphis Ridgeway running back Aaron Crawford. They also have Haywood High School defensive end Alex Watkins squarely in their sights.

Tops in middle Tennessee, and perhaps the state, is Hendersonville wideout Golden Tate of Pope John Paul III High School. At 6-0, 185 pounds Tate has blistering 4.4 speed which he used to compile 1,840 yards of total offense and score 20 touchdowns. He had another 657 yards as a return specialist and hauled three kickoffs for scores including a 96-yard TD. That's a total of 2,498 all-purpose yards which earned him Tennessee's Mr. Football award. Over his career, Tate has 2,170 rushing yards and 1,735 receiving yards with 60 touchdowns. Oh yeah, he also has 10 interceptions as a safety.

"He's a player that can score from anywhere on the field, in any situation," said PJP III head coach Jeff Brothers. "He's very shifty, he has great vision, he's able to set up cutback lanes, and he has the breakaway speed to turn a potential loss into an 80-yard touchdown. He has tremendous talent, he's very humble and he understands that it could all be gone in a moments notice. He's a 3.0 (GPA) student. He's a great kid. He's the kind of kid you pull for. He's a respectful, well-spoken kid. It's a thrill to be his coach."

The competition for Tate's services is already intense and he has yet to graduate the 11th grade. Among the schools pursuing the Golden Child are Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Notre Dame.

Look for an in-depth feature on this exciting prospect in coming days.


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