Tennessee knows the spectrum of running backs that the state of Georgia can produce.
For every Jamal Lewis who turned out to be a superstar there's a Jabari Davis who never lived up to expectations.
And even though those two tailbacks had far different careers, they have one thing in common. Both were impressive enough early to garner playing time as freshmen.
Tauren Poole, at least so far, is following in that Peach State tradition.
Even with a deep backfield chock full of experience, Poole is making a name for himself in spring practice.
"He's a very focused kid," running backs coach Stan Drayton said. "He wants to be extremely good. He's doing everything I ask him to do to achieve that. He's going to be a special player around here someday."
Drayton knew Poole had ability, but did he have the tenacity to attack the position? In other words, was he tough enough?
That question may have been answered Tuesday when the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder drew strong praise from UT coaches during one of football's most challenging drills. In the board drill, similar-sized players line up opposite each other to see who can win one-on-one battles.
"As long as I've got a dog that's going to bite," Drayton said. "I can train him to bite the right way."
Drayton will get plenty of training time with Poole. Proven players such as senior Arian Foster and junior Montario Hardesty don't need more than a minimal amount of spring practice. Sophomore Lennon Creer figures to carry much of the load. Then, there's Poole.
"He's going to be a good football player," Drayton said of Poole, who is not available for interviews as per UT's policy on freshmen. "He's still young. He's got a lot to learn.
"But what he's bringing to the table right now is work ethic and effort. Those two things right there, for a young football player, is pretty special."
Drayton is quick to say that upbringing is Poole's secret weapon. Credit the rearing to Poole's mother, Nina Poole, who raised her son as a single parent.
High school or college, Nina Poole said her son has the same dedication. Therefore, she's not surprised that her son has already drawn some positive reviews from UT's coaches.
"You have to understand," Nina Poole said, "when Tauren has a goal, he's focused. That's Tauren. When he's got a dream in his mind, he's not letting anyone stand in his way."
By anyone's account, Tauren Poole is still a long way from being a starter, much less a star. Having just enrolled in January, he still hasn't taken part in his high school commencement.
However, Poole has some impressive credentials, having rushed for 5,413 yards during his high school career, finishing with 2,138 yards in his senior season at Stephens County High in Toccoa, Ga.
Still, only time will tell if Tauren Poole is more Lewis than Davis.
Un-Kemped: Ricardo Kemp has left Tennessee's football program and plans to pursue a playing career elsewhere in hopes of securing more playing time.
Kemp, who would have been a junior this season, had 24 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and an interception during his UT career. This year, the defensive back from Warren, Ark., found himself in the middle of a deep UT secondary despite being largely unproven just a year ago.
It's Academic: Kenny O'Neal is not expected to attend any Tuesday or Thursday practices this spring in order to focus on academics. The senior receiver is expected to attend practices held on Friday or Saturday.