Hooker: Smith, Berry make impressive runs at camp

ATHENS, GA. -- Two of the University of Tennessee's top prospects wouldn't let pain or injury stop them.

Catholic High School's Harrison Smith posted the fastest shuttle time at the Nike football camp Saturday when he ran 3.94 seconds.

"It's a pretty good feeling to beat the rest of the guys," said the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder, who also bench pressed 185 pounds 25 times.

Not to be outdone, another UT prospect posted a camp best among more than 600 participants at the University of Georgia's athletic facility. Cornerback Eric Berry from Creekside High in Fairburn, Ga., ran a 4.33 in the electronically timed 40-yard dash.

Berry's bandage made the time even more impressive. The versatile athlete broke a bone in his right hand on Tuesday and participated in Saturday's drills with a cast. Berry said it felt like running with a medicine ball.

"I just wish I had my cast off," said Berry, whose father, James, played at UT 1978-82. "It would have been a little better."

Smith, who plays running back and safety, also had an injury to deal with. He was slowed in the last half of the four-hour camp by a large blister on the bottom of his left big toe. Still, Smith pushed through the pain, which drew praise from one college recruiter.

The blister didn't affect Smith's time in the 40, which was run at the beginning of the camp. He ran a 4.38. Smith admitted he was a bit surprised when notified of the time.

"I was very pleased with that," he said. "That's what I was most worried about. I knew I had to run fast. I just felt good today."

Smith recently received scholarship offers from Vanderbilt and Clemson to push his total number of offers to seven. UT was one of the first to offer.

Smith also has two academic scholarship offers, according to his father, Steven, who said his son recently posted an 1850 on the SAT, a 28 on the ACT and has a 3.77 grade-point average.

The younger Smith has been working with Petrone Training, which lists Chad Pennington, Leonard Little and Albert Haynesworth as former clients. Charles Petrone, who owns the center, said Smith usually steps up his game when it matters.

"He just nailed it," said Petrone, who attended the camp and cheered for Smith. "He was relaxed. He blew out some serious times for his size.

"Harrison is probably one of the best ones that I've come across with picking it up naturally."

Berry said he considered skipping Saturday's workout because of his injured hand but decided against it when rumors persisted that he could only run a 4.5 in the 40.

"Even if I did run a 4.5, who cares? I can play ball," the 6-1, 190-pound Berry said. "I think (the 40 time) helped a lot but I think my game film really spoke for me.

"It's not a track meet. It's a football game."

Contact between recruiters and prospects is prohibited during the spring evaluation period. That didn't stop several college coaches, including UT's Trooper Taylor, from keeping a close eye on Berry's performance.

"It makes a big impression," Berry said of seeing the ever-present Taylor nearby.

Flying Falcons: Fulton's Antonio Hamilton wasn't content with a respectable time in the 40. The 6-1, 300-pound lineman ran a 5.0.

"I really wanted that 4.9," said Hamilton, who has been timed in that range before.

Hamilton ran a 4.62 in the shuttle run and bench-pressed 185 pounds 19 times.

Running back/cornerback Dennis Rogan ran a 4.15 in the shuttle run and a 4.5 in the 40.

Rogan was disappointed by his 35.5-inch vertical jump. Several prospects complained that the vertical jump measurements seemed low. Rogan posted a 39-inch vertical jump at UT's camp earlier this month.

Fulton lineman Charles Wiley ran a 5.1 in the shuttle and 5.5 in the 40.

Visitors: Two members of UT's coaching staff a year ago, Randy Sanders and Pat Washington, were in attendance. Sanders is quarterbacks coach at Kentucky. Washington is wide receivers coach at Kansas State.

There were more than 50 schools represented. Florida coach Urban Meyer and Georgia coach Mark Richt made an appearance.

Tee Martin was seen among the throng of coaches. The former UT quarterback said he was going to try to play one more year in the NFL this season before moving onto coaching. Martin played in the CFL last season.

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