Three 'Gators' on UT radar

Three 'Gators' on UT radar

If Tennessee's football program is ever going to get a foot in the door at Glades Day School in Belle Glade, Fla., now would be a really good time. The prestigious private school features three hot prospects, including one who might be America's No. 1 recruit for the Class of 2013.

The high-profile trio consists of senior offensive tackle Tony Kibler (6-5, 310), junior cornerback Eaton Spence (5-10, 165) and freshman running back Kelvin Taylor (5-10, 205). Taylor was tabbed Outstanding Back at the UT camp.

You're probably wondering: What qualifies a high school freshman to attend the camp and claim one of the top awards?

Hint No. 1: He averaged 8.96 yards per carry en route to 1,774 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns last fall, becoming only the second Florida eighth-grader to earn first-team all-state recognition. (The other was former Florida State standout Ernie Sims.)

Hint No. 2: He's the son of NFL great Fred Taylor.

Keeping Kelvin Taylor from enrolling at the University of Florida four years hence may be a tough task. After all, his dad starred there and his high school is located on Gator Boulevard. Moreover, Glades Day's sports teams are known as the Gators.

Maybe the Vols could establish a bit of a presence in Belle Glade by actively recruiting Kibler and Spence. Both are major-college prospects who might help establish a pipeline to Knoxville.

As a transfer from Okeechobee High School, Kibler is so new to Glades Day that even head coach Pete Walker is relatively unfamiliar with him.

"Tony transferred in in January," Walker noted, "so all I know about him right now is that he's a powerful athlete. He's already been offered by Arkansas and South Florida."

The coach knows a lot more about Spence, who gave a very good accounting of himself at the UT camp.

"He has great cover skills," Walker said. "He has good acceleration. He's a fast kid – runs a 4.5 – and he's able to make up ground if he gets beat. He's a smart kid, a 3.0 student. He knows the game.

"He's a great, great young man. I think we're going to have really good things out of him the next two years."

Because he's so lean, Spence may need to add 15 to 20 pounds before he can play cornerback at the collegiate level.

"We need to get him a little stronger and more physical, jamming receivers and things like that," Walker said. "Other than that, the rest of his game is good. He runs well and covers well. He just needs to be a little more physical to reroute receivers."

Making Spence especially attractive to college scouts is the fact he excels at one-on-one coverage.

"He's a cover corner," Walker said. "We always put him on the opponent's best (receiver)."

Spence started all 12 games for a 2008 Glades Day team that advanced to Round 2 of the state playoffs last fall. He did not play any offense or special teams in '08 but that will change this season.

"He was a sophomore, and we kept him on defense," Walker said. "We didn't want to put too much on his plate. This year he'll double up, play some receiver. He'll also return punts."

Spence hasn't gotten a lot of attention from college recruiters to date but that likely will change. Talent scouts will be flocking to Belle Glade as long as Kelvin Taylor is there.

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