Can Vols Reap Another Whirlwind?

When it comes to acquiring speed, Tennessee has an affinity for velocity in much the same way George Steinbrenner has a quest to collect the best baseball talent on planet Earth.

Last season Tennessee signed America's fastest high school sprinter when it landed Jonathan Wade, a genuine blazer who turns a 10.1 time in the 100-meters, a legitimate 4.3 time on grass and owns the title of world's fastest human under age 19 at 200 meters.

Wade joined a long list of world class sprinters that choice to combine football and track on The Hill such as Richmond Flowers, Willie Gault, Clyde Duncan, Mike Miller, Anthony Hancock and Sam Grady.

This year Tennessee is trying to turn the old player-is-faster-than-the-eye trick again while pursuing Willie Hordge, a big-time burner out of Houston Forest Brook in Texas. Recently named the nation's fastest sprinter by Track & Field News, Hordge also ran a 10.1 in the 100 meters.

His production on the gridiron isn't quite so impressive: Hordge caught only 19 passes for 210 yards and four touchdowns this season and rushed 13 times for 102 yards and one touchdown.

However when you can make the yard stripes disappear in a vapor trail, college teams figure they can find a way to make you productive. Besides, the mere presence of that type of human hyper-speed forces defenses to make adjustments.

Hordge has that type of speed and, even if he didn't catch a ton of passes, he possesses the potential to make big plays on either side of the ball. It's the type of speed that opponents must account for and coaches can't walk away from.

So naturally, Tennessee has stiff competition for Hordge's services. Texas A&M and Arkansas are the other finalists, after Alabama fell out of contention during the coaching change and the Aggies stepped up as the favorite.

"Coach (Kenith) Pope was recruiting me at Alabama, and now he's at Texas A&M with Coach Franchione," Hordge said, "but Arkansas and Tennessee are still very much in it."

Hordge is rated the nation's No. 52 wide receiver by The Insiders while Max Emfinger has the Houston whirlwind at No. 20 nationally on his list of wideouts.

Hordge has taken official visits to Alabama, Texas A&M and Mississippi State. He is visiting Arkansas this weekend and will be at Tennessee next weekend.

The guess here is that he'll be hosted by UT's mercurial Jonathan Wade. Who else could keep up?

Inside Tennessee Top Stories