Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Recruiting Fix: Defensively Speaking

Thanks, once again for coming back for the Recruiting Fix. I appreciate all of my loyal readers and be sure and comment to let me know what you think of the coverage. We should soon have a twitter account set up for the site but for now, you can follow me to make sure you don't miss any of these. I'll give my account at the bottom of the article.

After focusing on the offense last week, today we will be talking about the defense with a few exceptions.

Georgia Athlete Marqui Hawkins has offers from Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Ole Miss, Miss State, and Tennessee. He's listed as an athlete but it's been said we are recruiting him as a defensive back. Some say he prefers to play wide receiver but he committed to Florida as a defensive back then was later told he could play wide receiver there.

He's a 6'2” 190 lb prospect who probably projects at safety in UT's defense if we are truly recruiting him as a defensive back.

Hawkins has said that he's shutting down his recruitment and then out comes rumors that he is listening to Tennessee. There's rumors that a “mutual breakup” may occur which would leave him looking for another home.

One thing in Tennessee's favor is that he plays at the same school as current Volunteer Deion Bonner who is helping recruit him to Tennessee.

He has visited Knoxville in the past and even brought his parents along for a visit. It ended up being an extended visit as he liked what he saw at Tennessee.

He's definitely taking some official visits this fall and says that he wants to come for one of the home games. Possibly Florida. It would be nice to win that one as there will be a number of recruits in attendance on the fence about Tennessee.

He told Rivals, "Just being around the coaches and the players and all the new facilities and all that. They're just real family-based and good people. (Sunseri's) about the coolest coach ever. He's just a funny guy." 


Montravius Adams is an as-of-yet uncommitted five star defensive tackle out of Vienna Georgia. Tennessee definitely has a dog fight on their hands if they want to land this talented prospect.

Adams has visited multiple times and has been impressed by Tennessee saying following his initial visit that it “exceeded his expectations” He said then he would be back in the fall for a game though it's unclear if he's planning on using an official visit on the trip should he make it.

He bonded with current Vol Antonio (Tiny) Richardson and said he could see himself at Tennessee.

He claims no leaders but says the schools that are in the mix are Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee in alphabetical order.

He says the coaching staff is telling him he will play early here and looking at the depth chart he can see that.

Adams will be suiting up in the Army All-American Game where he may announce but I think this one should last until National Signing Day and expect the Vols to be in the thick of it if they can get him back on campus.

It will be a battle to get one of those coveted official visits but anything could happen once we get him here.


Rod Crayton of Dadeville, Alabama has been hearing from the Vols and it appears the interest is strong.

Crayton is a true NT who benches close to 500 pounds. He's one of the strongest prospects in the class.

Rivals lists him at 6'1” 290 lbs. though some say he's shorter than that.

He has an impressive offer list boasting offers from Arkansas, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Crayton wears a prosthesis on his foot due to an accident with a lawnmower when he was young. It doesn't appear to slow him down any when he plays though.

Derrick Ansley with whom he has built a great relationship is his lead recruiter. He also loves coach Sal Sunseri.

He has visited UT multiple times and says he wants to come back for a game. He loves the facilities especially the new athletic center just months away from opening.

“I liked the coaching staff. I liked the indoor facility, everything was nice. Stuff was being built and it looked nice. It's going to be awesome,.” he told Rivals

He said he speaks with Tennessee at least twice a week and is very high on the Vols. Some say we even lead LSU for his signature. Rod is said to want to play football outside of Alabama which obviously helps us.

"Tennessee is definitely a top school. They show a lot of love when I'm on campus and when I'm at home they're always calling my coach asking about me and they hit me up on Facebook letting me know to call them and telling me they want me. They're recruiting me hard," Crayton has told Rivals

"I really love them," Crayton said. "They showed me love when I come up there. I contact coach Ansley every week. He's from where I'm from and I like that he's a real good dude. He always talking to me about what I've been doing. Coach Palermo told me I was a very good player when I was at Tennessee."

When asked when a commitment could be coming he said. "It's not going to be too late. It will probably happen after the season starts but before the first of the year. I want to take my time, but right now I'm just trying to look at my schools. When I make my commitment, I want to be solid. You see people commit and then commit somewhere else. That's not me."

His High School coach has high praise for him saying, “ He just beats the crap out of (opponents) all night long. He's a beast up in there. I've talked to a lot of high school coaches who've played against us, and they're saying 'We just can't do anything with him.'



Defensive End Naiim Mustafaa has been in contact with the UT staff several times in recent weeks despite his commitment to Georgia.

He just recently visited the Vols where coach Jay Graham is recruiting him to play jack linebacker, “I want to go up there and check it out; I have a good relationship with the Tennessee coaches,” Mustafaa told the AJC.

When asked to put a percentage on his commitment to UGA, Mustafaa said “I couldn’t put a percentage on it. That’s where I want to go. It’s pretty strong. It took a lot for me to commit there, so I doubt I will have any change of mind.”

He has visited Tennessee multiple times and claimed Tennessee was one of the offers he was waiting for. He said he remembers the campus is nice & how huge the stadium is. He watched us on television growing up and he liked watching Eric Berry. His dad played at Georgia Tech & his brother played at Kentucky.

Has had really good visits to Tennessee and really likes Coach Sal. At one point in the process Tennessee led.

Tennessee is getting a bit of help recruiting him as Justin King and he are close and he is trying to get him to come here.

Mustafaa is every bit of 6'4 235 lbs and appears to carry his weight very well.

The coaches are continuing to try and find a guy to play jack linebacker and they like Mustafaa and think he could play the part.

I think most everyone knows who safety Vonn Bell is. Bell grew up rooting for the Vols and has friends who attend school or play here including Jacques Smith who is helping recruit Bell to Tennessee.

Smith was the first to tell Bell that Tennessee was going to offer him which came true about 30 minutes later.

Bell actually still lives in Tennessee but he attends Ridgeland High School in Georgia because his mom works there apparently.

Bell has some of the best film of any prospect in the country. He hits like a linebacker but has the coverage skills of a corner.

Bell has been invited to play in the Under Armour All-American game next year.

Austin Sanders is also recruiting Vonn to the Vols. He says that Bell isn't sure what he wants to do right now. That he is up in the air though many experts speculate Tennessee is the team to beat.

Vonn is one of the most difficult guys in the class to get a good read on where he might be leaning so anything could happen. I believe it's just a matter of time and if we have a decent season, he'll become a Vol.

Rivals ranks Bell as the 13th best safety in the Nation though some services have him higher and a 4 star player.


Tahaan Goodman is a 6'2” 185 lb defensive back out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

He is a guy the coaches offered early in the process and have continued to recruit. I think he's a better fit at safety because of his size and the fact that he loves separating the offensive player from the ball and laying them out.

The key with a guy like Goodman who lives way across the country is to get him on a visit and if the coaches can do that, they like their chances with him. He does talk with current Tennessee Vol Byron Moore which doesn't hurt and has worked out with him when Moore was back in California.

Goodman has said that he wants to visit UT but has yet to announce where he will take his official visits.

He has contacted the coaches on his own and I'm sure they've contacted him. He's very interested in the depth chart here at UT and how he would fit in. Having Moore help recruit Goodman is big as Moore has made that trip from California to live in Knoxville and can help him make that leap.

I expect we will get an official visit this season from Goodman and I like our chances with him when that happens.

Rivals rates him a 4 star player and the 2nd best safety in the nation.

Mario Mathis is an unheralded linebacker formerly committed to Ole Miss. Ole Miss rescinded his offer after Mathis injured his knee.

Mathis has received several handwritten letters from the Vols.
Mathis has good size at 6'2” 245 lbs. Runs a 4.62 40 which is good for his size. I'm surprised by his lack of offers. It must have something to do with his knee. Hopefully it's not something they have to go back in an clean up once he gets on campus somewhere. If the coaches are willing to take a chance on the guy, I'm on-board. He could turn into a special player.


A guy I failed to mention last week but one for whom Tennessee is very much in it is junior college wide receiver Jonathan Rumph is a guy Tennessee coaches are recruiting hard. He holds offers to Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Nebraska, and South Carolina among others including Tennessee.

Rumph is 6'5” 215 lbs and reports a 4.6 40 Great size for a wide receiver.

He was also the MVP for the South team in the North/South All Star game in 2010 and was named to the 3A all-state basketball team his senior year. He averaged 18 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Dude is an athlete.

"Now, I know a lot. (about Tennessee) I know that when I come in they won't have that many receivers so they want to bring me in for a big role because I'm a big receiver and being an older guy and being a leader for the receivers. I like the scheme that they run and I like what they offer," Rumph told Rivals following a visit.

Rumph is working to be an early-enrollee which would certainly help him adjust sooner and be ready to play early.

I think this is a guy the coaches take before Kris Comas for sure.

Darrin Hinshaw is his lead recruiter and he speaks with him often.

He will be visiting the weekend of the 22nd when the Vols play Akron.

Rivals gives him 4 stars.


No one knows for sure what's going on with Jalen Reeves Maybin other than he is down to Ole Miss and Tennessee. I'm hesitant to make a prediction on him though the Rivals guys are predicting Tennessee. I guess I'll go along with that if for nothing else, some positive recruiting vibes. Ole Miss definitely has me worried though and after talking to his 7 on 7 coach, it would surprise me if he sent any player to play for Derek Dooley.

Reeves-Maybin will be announcing at his school Friday August the 10th at 2:30 CST.

I've known for weeks that Cam Sutton was a silent to commit for the Vols so when he came with his family I felt comfortable letting you guys know he was likely going to be our next commit.

We also have one more silent commit who wants to hold off announcing until his All-American game so good news is in store for Vol fans.

Toby Johnson announced he will official to Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ole Miss and a 5th to be decided between Miami or USC. Kind of surprising not to see UT listed, but he's seen Knoxville plenty of times. I still think he's going to commit to the Vols and take his official visits just to enjoy the process.


Camion Patrick has enrolled at West High School but he should no longer be considered a commit for this class. Word is he will still be academically ineligible to play and has a steep mountain to climb which based on what he's done to this point, he will not be able to overcome. Expect the coaches to cut ties with him at some point, but he's not going to be a guy who signs with the Vols.

Hope you enjoyed the article. Next week we'll cover the latest recruiting news as well as talk about some of the prospects we already have committed for the class of 2013. Follow the me on Twitter @Sabanocchio to make sure you don't miss a single edition or simply follow @BIYLF.

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