Gator Raid: Nu'keese to Vols

Tennessee lost more recruiting battles for top 25 wide receivers than any other position on the team, but the surprise signing of Florida commitment Nu'Keese Richardson helps soothe the pain of losing Marlon Brown, Pat Patterson, Kendall Kelly, Ashlon Jeffery and JeRon Stokes.

Unfortunately, the wait for a big, fast and physical pass catcher will have to wait to 2010.

Playing most of his reps at quarterback, Richardson threw for 1,020 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. He also caught 22 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 234 yards rushing and three TDs for Pahokee High School.

Richardson was named 2B Player of the Year and became a finalist for Florida's Mr. Football 2008. He participated in the Under-Armour All-Star game in Orlando last month.

A longtime Gator commitment, Richardson was also offered by South Carolina, Michigan, USC, Georgia and Miami, but his own two official visits were to Florida and UT. At Scout.com's Miami Combine last spring, Richardson ran a 4.41 and recorded a 36.5 inch vertical. An electrifying play-maker, Richardson should see service as a true freshman next fall.

The Vols also signed Stone Mountain, Ga., linebacker Robert Nelson, who visited UT last weekend.

As a junior Nelson compiled 176 stops and followed that with 151 tackles as a senior. He also played on the offensive line during those seasons, making his totals all the more impressive. As a four-year starter, Lord Nelson amassed 383 stops and 24 sacks for the Pirates. He was twice named to the Atlanta Journal Constitution All-State team and had offers from approximately 40 schools, including: South Carolina, Auburn, Alabama, Purdue, West Virginia, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Illinois and Mississippi State.

Tennessee is still involved with some late deciders like tight end Orson Charles, but the focus now largely shifts to next year. To that end the Vols gained a early commitment from Ooltewah High School defensive lineman Jacques Smith who projects as one of if not the state's top prospect in the Class of 2010. As a junior, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Smith had 76 tackles, 28 for loss, 13 sacks and 23 quarterback hurry. That news plus the additions of Darren Myles, Marsalis Teague, Greg King and Richardson were the bright spots of signing day for the Vols.


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