Originally created 07/24/99

Tutt's focused on the future



With the Augusta Heat, Recio Tutt is getting his future in order.

Tutt, who walked off the Georgia Southern football team during his sophomore year, goes into tonight's 7:30 p.m. game at Louisiana as the Heat's leading receiver with six receptions for 222 yards and two touchdowns.

Last week, the Heat (2-0) blew out the Hurricanes (2-1) 45-0 at Blanchard Stadium.

"They're going to have an advantage," Tutt said. "They're going to have their crowd there. And they're already disappointed about the 45-0 loss last week. They're going to be out for revenge and possibly try to hurt some of our guys. We're just going to focus on going out and playing a complete game and having everybody in the right place at the right time making plays. As long as we do that, I see no reason why we shouldn't win."

Winning was always a common thing for him at Lincoln County High School. In 1995, his senior year was phenomenal. Tutt caught 56 passes for 1,001 yards en route to being named the team's most valuable player. He was also elected to play in the annual Georgia-Florida high school football game.

Georgia Southern liked what it saw and signed Tutt to a football scholarship in 1996. In the fall of that year, Tutt started three games and played in seven total as a freshman. He caught 13 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown.

In 1997, Tutt was the team's third-leading receiver with 13 receptions for 206 yards and a touchdown. After playing 10 games, though, Tutt walked away from the team.

"Here we're a little different," Georgia Southern wide receivers coach Brian Bohannon said. "We don't throw it as much. And that's sort of what happened here. He never really got to showcase what he could do. There was a little bit of a conflict about receptions and that kind of stuff. That's the reason he ended up leaving.

"There's no ill feelings either way. It's just one of those things."

Tutt doesn't like to talk about the situation, leaving Georgia Southern in the past. For now, he just wants to focus on this season.

He wants to be the Heat's leading receiver. He wants to have the most touchdowns on the team. He wants to have over 1,200 yards receiving. All for one reason.

"My goal is to make it to the NFL," he said. "I have high goals. I would not prefer anything under the NFL. I believe that I have the talent to play on the next level. I feel that I can go in and make an impact.

"My speed is not that good. But it's just that I'm quick and I know how to run my routes and read the defense."

Bohannon regrets that Tutt didn't stick around to make an impact at Georgia Southern.

"The kid really had a lot of ability and I never got to see it to the fullest," he said. "I know I didn't. If he would have hung around, I could have pushed through some of that. He would have been one of our featured guys for sure."

Meanwhile, the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Tutt is one of the featured receivers for the Heat. And at season's end, he hopes to be a prime-time receiver.

"Hopefully, I can start my life off in the NFL," he said. "But if not, then I just have to work out hard, try to find a job and get in shape for next season."

Chris Gay covers sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 868-1222 ext. 114 or cag112@hotmail.com