Trace of a resemblance

Three decades ago Tennessee signed an in-state running back from Athens, Hubert Simpson, who produced some huge performances in the late 1970s. Now the Big Orange is looking at another Athens running back, and finding there's more than a trace of a resemblance.

That's because the prospect in question, Trace McDermott, is Simpson's cousin. The 5-11, 190-pounder attended last weekend's UT Senior Camp and came away impressed.

"I liked it a lot … a whole lot," he said.

Being a call-carrier at heart, McDermott especially enjoyed the drills that gave him a chance to showcase his rushing skills.

"The best part was being out there working with the coaches individually," he said. "I really liked the one-on-one drills – running backs against linebackers."

McDermott became a Big Orange fan early in life. He relished the stories about cousin Hubert scoring four touchdowns in a 1979 game against Notre Dame and rushing 35 times for 181 yards against Kentucky that same fall.

In addition to his famous cousin, McDermott was steered toward the Vol bandwagon by another family member.

"My uncle, Monie Simpson, is a big Tennessee fan," he said. "I've been following the Vols ever since I started hanging around with my uncle."

McDermott says he has attended "three or four" UT games in recent years, including the 2004 showdown with Notre Dame, the school cousin Hubert burned for four TDs 27 years ago.

Although he has no scholarship offers to date, McDermott says he is getting interest from Marshall, Louisville and Middle Tennessee State. He had hoped to attend the Marshall and MTSU senior camps but canceled in order to take the ACT.

As a junior last fall McDermott says he carried roughly 150 times for more than 1000 yards. He scored 16 touchdowns. He says former Southern Cal superstar Reggie Bush is his favorite player.

Asked to describe himself, McDermott said he's an "elusive, hard runner."

That sounds just like cousin Hubert.

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