Vols Pursue Speed LB

When it comes to fast linebacker prospects in a Class of 2009 that's literally brimming with swift second-level defenders, there is Frankie Telfort, of Miami, Fla., and there's everybody else in the rest of the nation; that alone might not make him Tennessee's top target for a position of great need, but it's first on a long list of talents and skills.

At 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Telfort hardly stands above the crowd but he can sure leave the crowd choking on his vapor trail. We're talking about clocking a smoking 4.41 seconds in the 40 at a Scout.com combine. Scout's combines are renown for their exacting standards, and are not given to hyperbole. Such a time would be in the pantheon of UT receivers like Peerless Price and Marcus Nash, which is fast for wide receivers nevermind weak-side linebackers.

If running fast was all he did that might be enough to be effective in the SEC, yet it's just the beginning of Telfort's list of impressive credentials. He's ranked No. 8 among players at his position and might be higher if not for a torn ligament in his thumb that require surgery and cost him the first half of his junior season at Gulliver Prepatory School.

Despite that setback Frankie Telfort came back wearing a cast and still put up some nice numbers for the season with 66 tackles, four caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries. For good measure he rushed for 700 yards in five games on offense. Add toughness to his linebacker resume'.

He's hardly a shrinking violet in the weight room either with a reported 285-pound bench press, 520-pound squat and a 36-inch vertical jump.

Speed, stoicism, strength and smarts: Telfort has a 3.3 core GPA at Gulliver Prep. And his size is no issue especially at linebacker. Tennessee will always take speed ahead of size, and have had good success with smaller linebackers like Eddie Moore and Kevin Simon. Excellent in coverage, Telfort likes to match up in single coverage with wide receivers

Tennessee was one of six stops Telfort made on the South Florida Express bus tour of campuses also featuring: Clemson, South Carolina, Florida, Florida State and South Florida. Telfort was impressed with Tennessee's facilities, locality, family feel, pharmacy program and scenic beauty among other things.

Although anointed the standout of the South Florida Express bus tour, Tennessee hasn't earned the official top spot in Telfort's pecking order quite yet. However the Vols are there along with Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, South Florida, USC, and Wake Forest as his favorites. Every school on that list has offered along with another 30 suitors following suit.

It's easy athletic purest to get caught up in Telfort's sizzling speed and 4.31 time in the short shuttle, but one of his most endearing attributes are his intensity, ferocity and nonstop motor.

"I have good speed, knowledge and explosiveness," he told Scout when describing his game. "A lot of people say I play like Ray Lewis and go crazy on the field sometimes. I'm also a good leader on the field."

Evidence of that intensity factor can be found in Telfort's off-season goals. "Even though I have good speed, you can never get fast enough," he said. "I want to improve my closing speed and work on taking better angles." If Telfort gets any faster he might go from weak-side linebacker to super star safety.


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