Historically speaking: UF vs. UT recruiting


Bragging rights will certainly be on the line Saturday when Tennessee hosts Florida at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. However, there could be even more at stake.

While the Volunteers and Gators don't regularly square off in recruiting battles, it does happen -- sometimes with huge consequences. Here are some of the biggest battles between the two SEC East rivals:

Gator Gets

QB Steve Spurrier (Johnson City, Tenn./Science Hill): Over the past 50 years, Spurrier and Tim Tebow are easily the most recognizable names associated with Florida football. Spurrier decided to leave his home state of Tennessee because the Volunteers ran a single wing offense, and Spurrier, as everyone knows by now, wanted to throw the ball. Spurrier, who was a two-time All-American and Heisman Trophy winner, finished his three-year career at Florida with close to 5,000 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes. After playing in the NFL for the 49ers and Buccaneers, he went on to coach Florida to a national championship and six SEC titles.

LT D.J. Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek): The No. 1-ranked offensive tackle and No. 7 player nationally in the Class of 2012 chose Florida over Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama and Clemson. As a true freshman, the 6-foot-6, 275-pound U.S. Army All-American has seen action in Florida's two games this season and will likely continue that trend.

LB James Bates (Sevierville, Tenn./Sevier County): The son of NFL coach and University of Tennessee graduate Jim Bates, James was one of the top 10 linebackers in the country in 1992, according to SuperPrep magazine. When Jim left his job as linebackers coach at Tennessee in 1990 to become Spurrier's defensive coordinator in his first year at Florida, the younger Bates shunned his home-state team and headed for Gainesville. James went on to become a mainstay at linebacker for the Gators and was a part of the 1996 national championship team.

QB Chris Leak (Charlotte, N.C./Independence): His older brother C.J. was a quarterback at Tennessee while Chris was being recruited. A decision to play James Banks over C.J. versus Georgia certainly didn't help the Vols with landing the younger Leak brother. Chris, who finished his final high school season with more than 4,000 passing yards and 60 touchdowns, chose the Gators over Tennessee, FSU, USC and Iowa. Leak went on to lead Florida to the 2006 national title with a 41-14 victory over Ohio State. He finished his Florida career with a record 11,213 passing yards and 88 touchdown passes.

LB Michael Taylor (Atlanta/Westlake): Taylor, a longtime Tennessee verbal commitment, decommitted from the Vols shortly after then-head coach Lane Kiffin announced he would be leaving for USC after only a season in Knoxville. As a redshirt freshman at Florida last season, Taylor recorded 36 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss. Through two games this season, Taylor has accounted for eight tackles and a sack.

True Volunteers