Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UT Receiver Cashes in on Chance; Former St. Augustine Standout Has 10 Catches Already This Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UT Receiver Cashes in on Chance; Former St. Augustine Standout Has 10 Catches Already This Season

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

Quintin Hancock was expecting 2008 to be a breakthrough year.

He had been one of Tennessee's go-to receivers at the end of the 2007 season, including catching what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime against Kentucky, and believed he had earned increased playing time among the group of experienced returnees.

He never got it, and he still doesn't know why.

"I'm not sure [what happened]," Hancock said in a telephone interview. "I just kept working hard in practice and waiting for my opportunity. It never came."

The former St. Augustine High School standout played in every game but didn't catch a pass. He played extensively on special teams and his six tackles were fourth on the team. But with the change in the coaching staff - Phil Fulmer resigned and was replaced by Lane Kiffin - came a new opportunity, and Hancock has certainly capitalized.

He is the Vols' leading receiver after two games, catching 10 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown. He will make his third consecutive start, and the fourth of his career, on Saturday against top-ranked Florida at The Swamp.

"Being a Florida guy, I always wanted to beat Florida," said Hancock, who is 0-3 against the Gators. "They're a great team, and I know they're going to be ready for us.

"I played there my sophomore year. It was pretty crazy. I'm expecting it to be crazy again."

Crazy he can handle. Not being on the field, however, was much tougher. Hancock's 2007 finish - he caught 10 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns, more than half of his season totals (16 for 165 yards), in the final five regular-season games - should have been a springboard to a successful 2008.

Instead, he found himself behind Lucas Taylor, Austin Rogers and Gerald Jones and fighting for playing time. The guy who caught two touchdown passes against Kentucky, a victory that won the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division title, never got his hands on a ball.

He had a bit of a rebirth after the coaching change, however. The senior felt comfortable in Jim Chaney's offense and showed it in the spring, winning the team's award for most improved offensive player. …

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