The Florida-Tennessee game needs no introduction and it's ramifications reach right to the core of the Vols recruiting campaign, That's because UT goes up against the Gators for many of the same prospects in a weapons race powered by the mantra bigger, faster, tougher, stronger.
Without a level playing field in the recruiting arena Tennessee is willing to settle for a roster that nearly duplicates the Gators' contingent of combatants because consistently assembling better talent than a program that gets the Sunshine State's brightest prospects on virtually an annual basis is most impractical.
That's why Tennessee has to win as many of the individual battles beyond the borders of Florida as possible. Earlier this summer the Vols came out on top for Josh Nunes the nation's No. 16 quarterback prospect from Upland, Calif.
Another major talent with a strong interest in both programs will be on hand for next week's annual renewal of hostilities.
f you could call the corner cornerback factory and place a custom order for a shutdown DB, specifying size, speed and athleticism it would essentially describe Stephon Gilmore of Rock Hill, S.C.
At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Gilmore starts at quarterback and cornerback for South Pointe High School. He also returns kicks. He runs a 4.50 time in the 40 and has a 34-inch vertical. He's good enough to pursue playing quarterback at the next level. Some colleges like him as a safety and Scout.com has the four-star prospect ranked No. 40 among wide receivers."
The Vols and Gators are both interested in him on the corner where his size and quickness would allow him to cover the big, fleet wideouts so common to Conference competition.
Scout.com media analyst Miller Safrit saw him perform at the Charlotte Combine and offers this observation.
"Gilmore showed his topnotch athletic ability with several breathtaking runs on offense and even got a few reps to lock down his side of the field at what should be his future position — cornerback."
Knoxville on Sept. 20 for the Florida game is Gilmore's first official stop this fall. He plans to visit South Carolina for the UAB game Sept. 27 and to Alabama for the Mississippi State game on Nov. 15. He will also schedule visits for Florida and Clemson. He has visited UT three times over the summer and attended a couple of games last fall.
His next visit should leave a lasting impression, especially if Tennessee breaks the Gators' three game winning streak in the series.
Editor's Note: We will feature other high profile prospects considering both Tennessee and Florida in the days leading up to the Sept. 20th showdown.