That's precisely what Stephon Gilmore, of Rock Hill, S.C., has managed to do entering the last week of July. The 6-foot-2, 183-pound, four-star athlete is ranked the nation's No. 40 safety prospect by Scout.com. He played there as a junior at South Pointe High School and is being recruited to play there by a few schools. He has been offered as a sprint option quarterback by Michigan and Wake Forest, a role he played to much acclaim as South Point posted a 12-2 record and reached the third round of the state playoffs in 2007.
Others view him as an athlete who could help on either side of the ball as well as a return specialist. Most colleges like Gilmore as corner back, but he could play and he has collected over 30 offers, including offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina, Florida State, Ohio State, LSU, Penn State and Tennessee. The Vols envision Gilmore playing the same position he prefers for himself.
"I've been to Tennessee like maybe four or five times," he said Wednesday in an IT interview. "I've been to a couple of games there. I really like Tennessee. I talk to Coach (Larry) Slade, the DB coach, probably every week. I talk to Coach (Dan) Brooks during the week, too. They want me to play corner and that's where I want to play too. I think I can go further playing corner back because of my size. That's another thing I like about Tennessee."
Gilmore also has a Tennessee connection with Rock Hill roots in Jonathan Hefney, a defensive back who started three seasons for the Vols.
"We didn't go to the same high school but and we are close friends," he said of Hefney. "When he comes back down here he comes by my house sometimes."
Gilmore has made some camps this summer and had demonstrated his ability to play corner at the Scout.com Combine in Charlotte, N.C. He turned in a 4.5 time there and said he has since clocked a sub-4.5. He reports a 300-pound bench press and a recent 37-inch effort in the vertical jump.
"I'm playing quarterback and cornerback this year," he said of his senior assignments. "I'm gong to return punts and kicks too.
"I played point guard for the basketball team but I'm not going to be able to play this year."
Instead Gilmore, who said his favorite corner back is Antonio Cromartie, is gearing up for a run at the state crown that eluded South Pointe last season. He'll also be making official visits during the season to meet his goal of early graduation. He plans to take official visits to Clemson, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.
"Oh yeah I am going back to Tennessee," he said. "I'm going to try to schedule a visit with them. I'll probably come up for the Florida game. I am going to make my decision before the season is over."
The Vols would like to have him on the roster in time to practice for a bowl game.