Monday, August 13, 2012

The Recruiting Fix: Just Win Baby!


Welcome back to the Recruiting Fix. I try and bring you as much information as I can get my hands on as it relates to Tennessee Football recruiting and sometimes throw a little in there regarding recruiting elsewhere and this week will be jam packed with little tidbits of information I've been sitting on. At some point in the future we will discuss Tennessee's current commitments but we have enough to talk about today to make for an exciting edition of TRF.

Winning is everything in recruiting and the fact is that we are coming off of a 5-7 season which has lost us some recruits that we should have landed. February is still a long way off though and I anticipate when we show what we are capable of on the field this year, we may flip someone like Ramsey, Hatcher and secure some of our other targets as well.

In combing through lists and message boards I noticed I missed a few guys when talking about our prospects the last few weeks and one is a glaring omission because this guy is a top player with an offer list to prove it and we are said to be his leader.

Donald Gray is a cornerback/slot receiver prospect getting a lot of attention from recruiting services as of late. In fact, 247 just bumped him up to a 4 star prospect after a recent showing. Gray is teammates with current Tennessee commitment Jason Carr which only goes to help our efforts in recruiting him.

Gray is said to not yet have a qualifying test score to get into college which is an easy fix really. The grades are harder to get past but he can retake the ACT as many times as he wants. Hopefully he'll have the support around him to help with this task because his recruitment will really blow up once he can show that he is qualified.

Right now Gray has Tennessee out front. Gray is a 5 foot 9.5 inch prospect who weighs around 170 lbs. Dooley typically doesn't like smaller corners so I'm very curious where they are recruiting him. Most are recruiting him at corner.

"I think most schools like me at cornerback, which is fine with me, I honestly don't have a preference, I'm just thankful for the interest and the opportunities that are out there," Gray said to Rivals of his future position.

Gray's high school coach calls him “the best pure athlete I've ever seen” which is quite the complement and leads me to wonder what he could bring to the return game and maybe even on offense, but it's said that Sunseri likes him as a defensive back.

He says he likes the players at Tennessee and even knew a few of them before hand. Of course he knows Carr and he is also good friends with recent Tennessee commitment Jalen Reeves-Maybin. I believe they were on the same 7 on 7 team. That's the buzz anyway.

Barton Simmons of 247 claims he's the most underrated prospect in Tennessee. I think Carr himself is pretty underrated but I won't challenge an expert.

Darrin Hinshaw, who has been money recruiting for us in the past is the guy recruiting Gray and they speak often.

Tennessee was at his school to see him recently and he indicated Tennessee is at the top of his list and he can't wait to get back out to see them.

Gray has been offered by Arkansas, Cincinnati, Kentucky, LSU, USC, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Tennessee.

Gray has said he will not decide on a school until after his season.

Mack Weaver from Harding Academy is another omission on my part who has a Tennessee offer and plays a position of need: tight end. Though we claim to be recruiting him at athlete, I don't see how the lack of depth at TE doesn't force us to play him there.

Weaver is 6'6” 235 and has the frame to bulk up. He has a long offer list which includes schools like Kentucky, Arizona State, Arkansas, Clemson, Louisville, and Vanderbilt.
Weaver claimed to be excited by his Tennessee offer and spoke highly of the Vols.

“I know a little bit about them. They're a great program, good facilities, a couple of my friends go there and they say that they love it up there," Weaver said. "It's still close to home but it's far enough away to be on their own. Then, the football team has been good and produced great players. I've just been told that it's a great place overall."

Mack is a great prospect. He has good hands and is the full package already – he can block and receive. A lot of tight end prospects are brought in and have to be taught to block, but he is already a proficient blocker.

It's not known when he plans on announcing for a school whether it be before the season, after the season, whatever, but whoever gets him is getting a good prospect and I just hope it's us. 

Here's a little more about Jonathan Rumph. It's said he grew up a Gamecock fan and was scorned when they didn't offer him coming out of high school. Well he's got his Gamecock offer now and it's right down the road from his home, but it's been said he's not even giving them a visit. Who knows if that grudge is still being held.

Some insiders think Georgia leads for his services though I've yet to see that in print.
He is intrigued by Tennessee however especially if we have receivers leave early and he and Hinshaw speak often.

Rumph will be at Tennessee the weekend of the 22
nd when we take on the Akron Zips. Who knows whether a commitment could come at that point or if he will wait and see who leaves before deciding.

With a decision coming any day on Camion Patrick who will likely be out of football this year and not a part of our class, we need 3 more wide receivers and Rumph would be a good one to get. In my opinion the sooner we cut ties with Patrick the better for our wide receiver recruiting.

Dorian Miller will likely officially visit for the Florida game. Many big-time prospects going to be at that one. The staff would likely make room for Miller if he wants to come. Kohler is a silent to us so you can pretty much say we have 4 offensive linemen and Miller would make a fifth, but he's a solid prospect who can sit behind a guy for a few years and develop into a quality player. 
Miller still claims Rutgers and Tennessee share the lead. I hope that changes once he witnesses gameday in Knoxville. 
Jermaine Grace is a big-time linebacker prospect we are still chasing and we have a great shot to land him.
From Mirimar, Florida, Grace already knows he wants to official to Miami and Tennessee. He's not sure about any others. Rivals lists him with high interest in Miami which is surprising given their situation and the sanctions that will eventually be levied against them.

Grace has an impressive offer list including Florida, Nebraska, Florida State, Texas A&M ect.

Hinshaw AND Sam Pittman are dueling together to recruit this kid. We really should have no non-running back higher on our wish list than this kid. I mean, I love Bell, but we get him anyway if we win. This kid would be a mammoth pull.

Grace totaled 115 tackles, 5 sacks, and 4 INTs last year. He ran a 4.43 40 at a combine in March.

He was at Tennessee for camp so he's had a chance to take in many of the sites, but an official visit is where we snag him, I think.

Grace said he's coming to Tennessee for (surprise) the Florida game and plans on announcing National Signing Day. That bodes well for us too IMO because Miami is poised to have an awful year while our year should be far from it.

We may still have a shot at E.J. Levenberry. He is listening to the Vol coaches though he is committed to Florida State. We had a real shot at him until the coaching changes in the offseason then we lost contact with him for awhile which should never happen in my opinion and is sloppy recruiting. But he is again listening and the hopes are that we can get him here for an official visit. Then anything could happen.

5 star defensive tackle Montravious Adams says that Coach Sal is his favorite coach of any he's met so far.

He still plans on announcing on National Signing Day though the Under Armour All-American game has also been thrown out there as a potential commitment date. Claims that all schools are even.

Most of us are sick of talking about Jalen Ramsey but there is a strong rumor out there that his commitment to USC may not be solid and he may be looking for a place closer to home.

He has been given the go-ahead to take official visits to other schools as long as USC gets the last visit. He has expressed some interest in Florida and wants to speak to Coach Muschamp though he has yet to do so.

Coaches want Derrick Green at the Florida game though no plans have been made.

All eyes are still on Jatavius Stewart to see if he or Toby Johnson will be the first to pull the trigger for Tennessee.

Stewart recently scrimmaged at Hutchinson and caught 4 balls for over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Much is being made of his speed and he certainly has it to spare, but don't let that cause  you to miss his explosiveness and change-of-direction. He's a special player.

AJ Turman says he will take official visits to Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee.

Paul Fortenberry of Volquest said last night that if we have a decent season he finds it very hard to believe Vonn Bell wouldn't be a Vol.

I'd love to report something new on Derrick Henry, but it's hard to know what is going on right now. There was a rumor that he committed to Bama, but I refuse to believe he would do that prior to seeing Tennessee one last time. I hope the gameday atmosphere and the fans in Knoxville are enough to convince him this is where he wants to spend his college days. A butt-stomping of Florida wouldn't hurt matters much either.

I wouldn't worry too much about Toby Johnson. Everyone wants him but no one has the ties to him that Tennessee does. I'm just waiting on him to pull the trigger. If he's not a Vol, I will be surprised but it wouldn't be the first time a recruit surprised me. In the end I think we get him and Stewart. There's certainly a place on our roster for him. McCullers is badly in need of a backup. Hood is not the same kind of player Johnson is. No knock on Hood.

Camion Patrick of course transferred to Knoxville West where he is trying to regain his eligibility, though that must be reviewed and approved by the TSSAA before it can be ruled on. I'm not sure how long that takes. Patrick is an excellent talent and I would love to have him, but I would hate to see UT sully their name by bringing in a kid who just isn't cut out for college. I've seen it too many times before.

Florida Gators WR Ja'Juan Story will be transferring. He said it wasn't the right fit for him. Whatever that means. Just means to me one less 4 star WR to worry about covering.
Odds are he will not be able to transfer anywhere in the SEC.

Guys and gals, recruiting is really going great right now. At this point last year, UT had only 7 commitments. We now have 17. Some of those 17 I question as takes but I think the coaching staff knows better than I what they are doing. As it sits we have about 8 or so more spots to fill depending on what happens with Patrick and whomever else we may cut ties with.

I think we easily end up with a top 15 class. Top 10 if we really close strong which Dooley has typically done.

That's all I have for now. I thank you again, for reading and be sure to follow the blog on Twitter @BIYLF. And follow me @sabanocchio. That way you won't miss a single edition of the Recruiting Fix.


Anonymous said...

Good stuff as always. Keep it coming.

Sabanocchio said...

Thanks. I will.

Anonymous said...

What's the affect our season will have on recruiting. Say like we go 5 or 6 wins. And I know you mentioned Vonn Bell already but what about the class as a whole.

Sabanocchio said...

If we go 5 or 6 wins I think we end up barely in the top 20. I don't see how that could happen barring some impactful injury at a position we have no depth. Our season will flip some guys that are committed to other schools and land some that we are hot after. That's what I think.

Chris said...

Are you hearing anything or have a take on who we drop if we get a full class? I'm not an expert but am surprised with some of the guys we have commited (Barnes, smith, skipper). Also any insight into any current recruits that could come in and play right away.

Sabanocchio said...

Yeah we are going to have pretty close to a full class. We can backcount three I think which would be 28. I would expect us to have 25-28 commitments.

Von Bell is a special talent. I think he can play early. Also any of the top runningbacks we are after will see early playing time. I see a redshirt in Riley Ferguson's future.

Sabanocchio said...

We may drop some guys who aren't going to qualify, but the borderline players we have committed, I expect to keep unless there are grade concerns.

bignewt said...

Im wondering if Grace wants to commit we drop another lb commit. That would be a lot when we are saving spots for rbs (I say we take 2), one more o line(maybe 2), dbs (at least 2) and d line(probably 2. I don't see signing more than 25.

Sabanocchio said...

That's a possibility newt.

Anonymous said...

Great work. Looking forward to next week