Regarded as a sleeper, a title he retains since he hasn't played competitively the last two seasons, Stephaun Raines does appear to be as interesting as any wideout prospect that is realistically available to UT in the Class of 2008. Two years of added maturity should enable him to compete for playing time next fall at either receiver or defensive back. After redshirting last fall at Coffeyville, he'll have four years of eligibility remaining.
"The thing Stephaun really possesses is great speed," said Dalton High School head coach Ronnie McClurg told IT when Raines originally signed. "He can really run. He has run a 4.38 in the 40. He has also been electronically timed at 10.6 in the 100 meters, which is outstanding. The thing that goes along with his speed is his toughness. He's a very physically tough young man. He has a great passion for the game."
The 6-foot-1 Raines has added about 10 pounds from his high school playing days, making him about 180. A three-year starter at wide receiver for Dalton he was offensive captain and offensive MVP as a senior when he compiled over 1,770 all-purpose yards. He caught 41 passes for 704 yards with seven touchdowns and rushed for 947 yards with eight TDs. In 2004 Raines caught 49 passes for 912 yards and eight TDs and rushed 12 times for 187 yards.
Raines could see service as a slot-back where he could favorable matchups and his ability to run the ball or turn short passes into big plays could be effectively utilized. He bench presses over 300 pounds and was very good at running interference for the Catamounts.
"The thing I really like about him is that when he's not running the football he's blocking," McClurg said. "He lines up at the wing and blocks defensive ends and linebackers. He did a great job of that."
According to McClurg, Raines, who moved to Dalton from Tampa, Fla., six years ago, has made substantial progress in the classroom and is carrying a 3.1 GPA. He has compiled a total of 48 credit hours in two semesters.
"He's a humble young man," McClurg said. "He has a wonderful mother and he's very appreciative. He's a fine young man. I think he's going to be very successful. He certainly will not hurt the Tennessee program from an athletic standpoint or character standpoint."