Vols Alive In The 305

Don't be surprised to see UT's coaching staff sporting a little more pop and a bit of bling this fall, as it is a natural byproduct of conditioning; you see If the Vols were anymore involved in recruiting the city of Miami, they'd have to open a branch office in South Beach and register with the North Dade County Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome to the 305, land of high fashion, high rollers, high-profile celebs, high-gloss autos and thousands of people with million dollar bank accounts. Then there's the other side of the 305 which is plagued by high crime, high risks, high poverty and a thousand prospects with million-dollar potential.

These divergent worlds are fused by a mood, a style, a beat, a vibe, a feel, a look, an edge and an attitude that is strictly Miami. If you don't get it you won't get along for long. This amalgamation of culture and class makes the southern most major city in America a different type of town to recruit.

Over the years the Vols have arguably had as much success with prospects from Miami as any other city outside of Tennessee. Among the impressive group are three former team captains — Horace Morris in 1993, Kelly Zigler in 1987 and Jim Powell in 1948. Then there are the kicking Reveiz brothers, Fuad and Carlos, high school All-American running back Terry Daniels, receiver Lenny Taylor, defensive back Dave Thomas and Kevin Simons, a four-year letterman (1985-1988) on the offensive line.

Over the last 15 years Tennessee's recruiting fortunes in Miami have receded like low tide during a new moon. The most notable exception is current Vol starting safety Demetrice Morley, who signed with UT in 2005 when he was rated the nation's No. 1 cornerback prospect. Former UT recruiting ace Trooper Taylor played a key role in the acquisition of Morley, but no other major breakthroughs can be claimed in the Fulmer years. That's ironic since recruiting is Fulmer's specialty and he's an excellent closer, but it's probably more a reflection of a changing atmosphere in south Florida that requires an assistant with experience to work the area throughout the year.

Enter Stan Drayton of Cleveland, Ohio, by way of Gainesville, Fla., where he served three years as a running backs coach on Urban Myers staff distinguishing himself as a good recruiter and motivator. Before that he was two years on Mississippi State's staff where he first began to make inroads to the Miami market.

Aggressively recruited away from Florida, Drayton stepped in for the popular Taylor as running backs coach and proven recruiter at Tennessee. Now he's making a difference in south Florida where the sun rarely shines on the Vols on national signing day. Of course, UT's recruiting approach is team oriented with position coaches, recruiting coordinator and the head coach also making active contributions, but the addition of Drayton has definitely had an impact.

Whether it nets any gains remains to be seen. Still at this point the Vols are players for at least five Miami prospects not counting the other south Florida players they are pursuing.

Tops on the is Frankie Telfort, a 5-11, 200-pound linebacker with 4.41 speed. He recorded 66 tackles, caused four fumbles and recorded two in only half a season for Gulliver Prep as a junior. The torn ligament in his thumb surgical repaired Telfort is primed for a big senior campaign. His finalists include: Notre Dame, USC, Stanford, Florida, Ohio State and Tennessee. Ranked the nation's No. 8 outside linebacker Telfort is expected to announce his decision on ESPN in January.

The Vols are also one of four teams still in the hunt for No. 9 defensive tackle Antwan Lowery of Christopher Columbus High School. The 6-3, 325-pound prospect runs a 5.31 and is also looking at Florida, Rutgers (where his brother is a linebacker) and the hometown Canes.

Quan Fletcher is a 6-1, 240-pound middle linebacker out of Miami Dr. Krop High, where he amassed 134 tackles. Ranked the nation's No. 35 middle linebacker he has 4.8 speed and good lateral quickness.

Tennessee has extended an offer to Daniel Mack, a 6-0. 195-pound safety, who is rated the nation's No. 45 weakside linebacker. Mack runs a reported 4.5 and compiled 128 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions for Dade Christian School in 2007. He also has offers from Auburn, Boston College, Clemson, South Carolina, South Florida and Central Florida.

Another UT offer has been extended to Monsignor Pace High safety Kayvon Webster who is ranked No. 51 at his position. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound DB runs a 4.5 and lists his favorites as Boston College, LSU, Miami, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee and Virginia. Some schools like him as a wide receiver.

When it comes to recruiting the 305 Coach Drayton is dailed in.


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