Robert Meachem filled that role for UT in 2006 so well that he raised his pre-draft stock to first round status, prompting his decision to go pro. Unfortunately, the Vols didn't have anyone to replace him on the spring roster. For that matter they didn't have anyone to replace Jayson Swain or Bret Smith either.
That could change by fall with a promising crop of high school, prep school and junior college players coming on board. The further development of existing talent could also make a difference by then, although that would be optimistic and it also explains why UT's staff were seeking immediate help on the 2007 recruiting trail.
Enter Carl Moore who had just completed a standout freshman campaign at Sierra Community College in which he caught 60 passes for 970 yards and eight touchdowns to earn all-conference honors. UT was in California recruiting JUCO wide receiver Kenny O'Neal of San Francisco City College and were impressed by what they saw from Moore.
"They said they were looking for a big receiver to bring in during May, but I just couldn't get done in that time," he told JCFootball.com. "I'm a big SEC fan because I'm just like a lot of those receivers out there. They are all 6-4 like me and they are physical. I really like their offenses out there."
The reason there are so many big receivers in the SEC is because there are so many cover corners capable of disrupting routes before they ever get started, destroying the timing of the passing game and allowing the defense to stack against the run.
"I'm real physical, but I can surprise people with how quick and fast I am too," Moore told JCFootball.com recently. "I love the press (coverage) because I can muscle my way out of it and then it's all on me and my quarterback to get a completion and I can take it to the house."
Moore was a standout at Rancho Cordova High School in Sacramento and was sparking the interest from virtually every school major program on the Pacific coast. Unfortunately, his Division I career was derailed when he came up a science credit short of qualifying. He was going to enroll at SFCC, but opted for Sierra CC which is located in Rocklin, Calif., near Lake Tahoe.
After helping the Wolverines to a 6-5 mark and an appearance in the Silicon Valley Bowl, Moore is now working on making himself a better player and, by way, a better prospect. Given that he is already rated a five-star talent by Scout.com that will take some doing.
"I work out at Velocity every morning at 6 a.m. and then on my own at 4:30 p.m.," Moore told Scott Eklund of JCFootball.com. "My speed and my agility have really improved a lot. I ran a 4.5 40 about two months ago and we haven't done one since then, but I know I'm faster. I also just did my vertical about two weeks ago and had a 38-inch vertical too."
"I'll be looking at location and playing time too," he said, "and how I get along with the coaching staffs, so I'm open to everyone right now."
It's fair to say everyone is interested in an open receiver.