Chasing the dream

Not every prospect who shows up at Tennessee's summer football camp has a big-time reputation and a string of stars after his name. Some of them have only a dream.

Josh Spencer, for instance. He's a tad small (6-1½, 200 pounds) for a tight end prospect and a tad slow (4.8 in the 40) for a wide receiver prospect. But he made the trek from the Jackson suburb of Madisonville, Miss., to match his skills against America's best ... and he's glad he did.

"I got to go up against a lot of the best guys from all across the nation," he said. "The experience was once in a lifetime."

Only a dozen or so tight end prospects showed up for the UT camp, so Spencer got a lot of individual work with Vol staffers.

"Working one-on-one with the coaches was fun," he said. "The one-on-ones was my favorite part of the camp but the 7-on-7s was good, too."

Although he was one of the smallest tight ends at UT's camp, Spencer also was one of the most athletic. The young man has some skills.

"I think I did well," he said. "I liked my one-on-ones. Going up against safeties, I think I can be very effective."

Asked to describe his style, Spencer laughed.

"Rugged," he said. "I'm very aggressive when it comes to coming off the ball. I like contact."

Spencer's biggest problem at present is that he's a tight end trapped in a wide receiver body. Adding about 30 pounds could fix that, a point he readily concedes.

"My blocking is great," he said, "but I think I need to pick up a few more pounds so I can be a more effective tight end. I need to get better at pushing people around a little more, just blowing people up coming off the ball."

Although his performance on The Hill did not earn a scholarship offer from Tennessee, Spencer figures his time in Knoxville was well spent.

"It was fun," he said. "I love the Tennessee coaches. They're kind of strict and they work you but they're real cool people."

Josh Spencer is cool, too. He doesn't have a big-time reputation or a string of stars after his name but he has a dream, and that's a great place to start.

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