June 10, 2009

Hoops standout becoming hot commodity on gridiron

Quinton Alton has never taken a snap in a regular season football game.

But that hasn't stopped some colleges from being intrigued by the 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end from Memphis, (Hillcrest) Tenn.

Alton, as a senior, will play his first year of football after hanging out on the hardwood since he was six years old. Due to Alton's size and projectables, coaches at the collegiate level are clamoring to get a look and evaluate him.

"Basketball is my love, and I've been doing it for a long time, but I noticed I'd get more looks in football," Alton said earlier this week.

Alton is making a tour through the Southeastern Conference this summer, as he spent Sunday in Oxford, Miss., for Ole Miss' Rebel Yell camp after visiting Tennessee the previous week and heading to Georgia this Saturday.

Ole Miss wasn't entirely new for Alton, as he had been on campus previously for a basketball function. He got a chance to check out the football players' lounge and other amenities related to the gridiron. After the touring, Alton tested himself during the actual camp and was happy, but not elated, with his performance.

"It was good, and I had a good time, but I could have done better," said Alton, who is being recruited by Ole Miss assistant Derrick Nix. "They told me how to get better and coached me up a little bit."

Considering his inexperience with football-related moves, Alton is pleased with his progress.

"I think I'm catching on quicker than others thought I would. I really have to keep going and improving my hands and footwork."

Alton said Tennessee showed interest during his stay in Knoxville, Tenn. Former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron is recruiting him for the Volunteers.

"They have been scouting me up, and they kind of offered me last week," Alton said.

Alton puts Tennessee second behind Georgia on his wish list, as he is looking forward to the Athens, Ga., trip Saturday to display his skills in front of the Bulldogs. Alton said he would commit to Georgia immediately if offered.

"That's motivation right there to work out for the school you want to go to," Alton said. "It makes me want to play harder. It pumps me up."

The common thought is Alton would need to play offensive line or defensive end to have a shot at professional football, but tight end is where he is fixated on staying.

"I was told to gain weight and move to offensive line for my best chance at the league, but I'm not into that," Alton said. "I'm going to worry about developing at tight end."

Alton has a 3.4 GPA and ran 40s of 4.9 seconds and 5.0 seconds at Rebel Yell. Alton has just started lifting weights and currently maxes at 185 pounds on the bench press.

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