UT Turns Tables on Noles

Perhaps believing the best defense is a good offense, Phillip Fulmer figures if the the Florida Seminoles can go to Alcoa and pull away one of the best prospects in the state, as was the case with tight end Brandon Warren last February, it's only fitting the Tennessee Volunteers go to Tallahassee for the same purpose.

The prospect of interest is 6-foot-1, 200-pound Deshaun Barnes of legendary Lincoln High School, who probably projects as a safety or linebacker at the next level. His 4.57 time in the 40 makes him a natural fit for SEC speed defenses, which explains why Auburn, Florida, LSU and UT have all offered and are all among his finalists.

He has also been offered by hometown FSU, adding to the recruiting rivalry between the Vols and Noles. Miami is his other finalist, but the Canes have yet to offer. Barnes has received over 25 offers overall.

"I still like Auburn, Florida State, Florida, and LSU," Barnes told Scout.com's Mike Bakas. "You can add in Tennessee and Miami now too. With Tennessee, I like the coach. I like how he presents himself and plus, they have a good track program. With Miami, they got my game film from the spring and started recruiting me. They have a great program down there and I'm definitely looking at them now."

Last season, Barnes earned all-district honors as an outside linebacker for Lincoln and finished with 46 tackles, two sacks, two picks and one defensive touchdown.

"Deshaun has all the tools," said Lincoln recruiting coordinator/assistant coach Tony Collins. "He plays outside linebacker for us but he might play safety in college. Either way, he just knows how to make plays."

Barnes said he's fine playing either position and already has something of a hybrid role for Lincoln. That could make him a good fit for Tennessee given the manner in which the Vols use their strong safety. He has a 3.0 GPA and is awaiting the results of his SAT and ACT which he took for the first time in June.

A surprisingly versatile athlete, Barnes is also a standout on the Lincoln's talent laden track team.

"He's a great athlete." Collins said. "He's a 6-4 high jumper and he's on our 4-by-4 team."

UT is also recruiting Barnes' Lincoln teammate — cornerback Brandon Paul — a four-star prospect with 4.4 speed ranked No. 12 at his position nationally by Scout.com. The usual list of suspects are in the hunt for Paul, including Miami, FSU, Florida, LSU, Texas and Tennessee.

In addition to the prospects in Tallahassee, the Vols and Noles are also doing battle for the services of four-star defensive end Rae Sykes of Alcoa.

The results of these recruiting showdowns with Florida State will reflect much of UT's progress this season.

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