Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Recruiting Fix: Looking ahead

Welcome back to the Recruiting Fix. Thank you for reading. There is a lot of information to cover today so we will get right to it.

With High School football starting up I thought it would be a good time to start talking about 2014 prospects. Especially instate players so here are a few names to remember and start watching.

Wide receiver Josh Malone out of Gallatin, Tennessee (Station Camp) has had a UT offer for awhile.

His coach is reportedly a big Tennessee fan who would love to see him play for the Vols.

Malone is 6'2.5” 181 and reportedly runs a 4.48 40.

Barton Simmons of 247 calls him one of the top receivers for the 2014 class. Brent Hubbs described him as freakishly athletic.

Malone loves the Vols and has been to Knoxville several times including the Orange and White game.

Has offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Michigan, and Western KY.

He camped at Nike Football Training Camp in Atlanta and was said to be the best wide receiver there.

Not only is he one of, if not the best prospects in Tennessee for 2014, he will be one of the top rated wide receivers in the entire country. Dooley is already on top of this one as he will need to be because this is the kind of talent we have to continue to land. Malone is a key component to what looks to be a real good class next year.

Running back/defensive back Jalen Hurd of Beech Senior Grew up a Vols/Gators fan. He is 6'2” 190 lbs going into his junior year of High School and has already amassed a slew of offers among them Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Ole Miss Mississippi State, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, as well as Tennessee.

Some say he is built more to play wide receiver than running back though we are supposedly recruiting him to play running back which he plays currently in high school and it has been said, where his heart is at. A few other schools are recruiting him as a wide receiver. He has been to Knoxville to visit and said his visit was “really great.”

He said that Tennessee has always been his #1 college and his family are big Tennessee fans but he wants to take his time and pick the right school.

"I’ve always been a Tennessee fan," Hurd recently told Rivals. "I stayed a Tennessee fan throughout the years. To have an offer from them is great. You always have that preference for your hometown school."

Supposedly a good student, there should be no issues with him qualifying to play college ball.
He claims that Alabama leads. Winning would do a lot for this situation as it would with many prospects.

Cornerback Vic Wharton is a guy without a Tennessee offer but one the coaches are watching closely.

He is the nephew of Brandon Wharton, point guard for the basketball team 1995-1999.


Wharton is close with another prospect we will talk about and one that's higher on Tennessee's list, Todd Kelly Jr. The two have talked about playing together in college since they were in middle school.

"It's been pretty crazy. He's been talking about me playing with him again," Wharton told Rivals. "We played little league football together in sixth grade and since then we've always talked about how we were going to UT. But, we didn't know we were going to have all these offers, too."

"It's great because I already know Todd Kelly and I know Evan and Elliot from running track with them," Wharton said. "We've always had a friendship with each other and today we were helping each other with our footsteps and everything, with me and Evan being in the same group. It was fun, a lot of competition out there."

The coaches are going to continue to evaluate Wharton though there are likely several players higher on the board at his position.

Speaking of Todd Kelly Jr., this is a guy the Volunteers absolutely must land. He plays at Webb School of Knoxville in our own backyard and is the son of Vol great Todd Kelly.

Kelly Jr. is 6'1” 190 lbs and runs a 4.5 40. He already has offers from just about every SEC school and about a dozen more top schools not in the SEC.

His sister is a cheerleader at Alabama because they have a competitive cheerleading squad and Tennessee does not.

We could go on and on about his accomplishments. I think this guy is a for-sure 5 star player and top 5 defensive backs in all the country and his dad played for UT. He says he's going to play his recruiting out and give schools a chance but I see no way this guy isn't suiting up for the Vols in the future. He's as close to a lock as you're going to get.

Now if things go south with Dooley and there is a coaching turnover, things could change, but as long as Dooley wins as he is expected to this year then we will be fine with Kelly.

Alex Bars from Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville is the younger brother of Blake Bars (future Michigan OL) and Brad Bars (Current LB at Penn State).

He is 6'6” 255 lbs.
He told Rivals upon getting his Tennessee offer "I started off on defense this morning. The coaches told me they liked my balance and my quick feet. In the afternoon they switched me over to play offensive tackle and I think they liked me there, just with my base and my footwork.”

“I just wanted to come up and try my hardest. I wasn't hung up on getting an offer or anything. I'm glad they did though. It's really exciting to get that first offer, but I really didn't expect it."

"It's still really early for me, it's exciting to get this offer, especially from a school like Tennessee, that's big, but I plan on taking my time and going through the process a little bit," Bars said of a recruitment that's in the earliest possible stages. "I've got a lot of family and friends that are Tennessee fans, so getting this offer was a big deal."

He holds offers from Michigan, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

His offer to UT is as an offensive tackle.

Certainly a guy to keep an eye on and one we really would like to land, but with brothers spread out across the country there's no guarantee he'll end up at UT. Still a top prospect in the state and one we would love to have. Here's that word again, it comes down to winning.

It's pretty clear Tennessee is looking to build depth at tight end which is clearly a position of need. We cannot afford to swing and miss on one prospect so there are a couple of new names that have come up whom we are recruiting.

I don't know a lot about Standish Dobard other than he committed to Miami fairly early in the process. I do know that we are going after him hard despite the fact that he is committed to Miami.

Dobard is a 6'5” 235 lbs tight end out of New Orleans.

Tennessee is setting themselves up well with a couple of different Miami recruits/commits preparing for severe sanctions to be levied upon them so this is a guy who could fall our way in that scenario.

We are late to get in on JUCO tight end Beau Sandland, but the coaches are trying with him. He is an early-enrollee so he has to make a decision before December at the latest. He plans on taking all of his official visits and says Tennessee is in position to get one of those visits.

Sandland is 6'6" 250 lbs with a 4.6 40 out of Pierce Community College in Woodland Hills, California. His offer list stretches a mile.
The saying goes better late than never and if we can get Sandland here on a visit anything can happen.

Tennessee is still trying with California defensive end Joe Mathis.

Mathis is a 6'4” 254 lb prospect out of Upland High School in Upland, California.

He committed to the University of Washington early in the process before backing off of that recruitment when the coaching staff turned over. Washington is still getting a look and will get one of his official visits.

Mathis claimed a top ten in June of Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, Alabama, USC, Miami, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Tennessee, and UCLA.


The fight is getting one of those valued official visits and putting a good product on the field this year. With USC full, the fight is on for this heralded prospect.


Jerrol Mobley projects as a nose tackle in Tennessee's defense and there is certainly need for another nose to add depth to the rotation.
Mobley is a big body at 6'4” 315 lbs and is hard to move off the ball with his size.

Tennessee stands out as his biggest offer, but he is a big body who can help us in the middle.

"Coaches-wise, they don't lie to you, he told Rivals. “They keep it real. Full, 100-percent honest with you. I like that about them. The stadium is cool. It's not too country, but it's not too city. It's a good balance to keep me out of anything as far as trouble. I like the balance of it."

"Right now, they're on top," Mobley said of the Vols. "Just the vibe. They're good people. Don't get me wrong, there are other schools out there and I haven't hit them, but as of right now they're on top."

Mobley wants to decide before the season meaning if he is a take, there is a chance of a commitment soon.

When asked by 247 what schools were on Donald Gray's mind, he mentioned Tennessee and Ole Miss.

He says Ole Miss is recruiting him the hardest and mentions that he has a lot of friends at Ole Miss. He feels comfortable at both schools, and he would like to take his visits. He would also like to take in a game at LSU.

Alvin Kamara told 247 that he will decide in September, but that's "just a feeling."

When talking about Tennessee, he referenced former teammate Jason Croom, and that he thinks Derek Dooley is a great guy. He says Tennessee is staying in touch.

He talked about his attendance at DawgNight and that he's close friends with Shaq Wiggins and Tray Matthews.

Kamara still likes Bama, and they're recruiting him hard. He realizes two running backs are committed there but is not afraid of competition.

5 star Auburn commitment Dee Liner is, again, in trouble. He was apparently kicked off his high school team.

Supposedly he went off on a trainer for not taping up his shoe properly. An assistant coach stepped in and told him to knock it off or run sprints. He cussed at the coach and threw water bottles around and walked off.

His mother brought him back to talk with the head coach whom he subsequently cussed out. The coach told him he was off the team and planned to talk to the team to determine what they thought was in the best interest of the group.

This is in addition to being arrested last month for criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.

It looks like we are back in the mix for linebacker Cameron Toney as Auburn has several inside linebackers commited which is where Toney is projected to play.

He is 6'3” 210 lbs but has a frame that can put on a lot of weight.

Toney is still commited to Auburn but the coaches have his attention because he is looking at playing early. He would certainly have a better shot here.

He has visted Knoxville and the visit went real well.

Toney wants to major in engineering and knows Tennessee is a great school for that.

Derrick Ansley is his lead recruiter but he also has a “great connection” with coach Sal Sunseri. This is a kid who Sal Sunseri really likes.

He has offers to Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Vandy

As a junior he had 119 total tackles, 8 sacks, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 7 quarterback hurries, and 3 passes defended.

Derrick Green has been taking visits including one to Georgia where he had a great time with "his boy" Shaq Wiggins.


He's also been to Auburn which he also enjoyed. He hung out with Rueben Foster and says that Foster is recruiting him hard to Auburn.

His only official visit setup so far is to Michigan October 19th when they play Michigan State.

Defensive end Demarcus Walker has been active on twitter lately. He recently tweeted
“I'm really feelin orange and white lately. Knoxville might need to make some room for me “

Walker is probably just playing the game trying to build suspense for his announcement but he did also tweet a picture of him next to a pic of Reggie White so he's familiar with Tennessee's history along the defensive line.

Recent Ole Miss decommit, linebacker Mario Mathis was on an unofficial visit Sunday to take in the Vols' practice.

Mathis was really impressed with Tennessee. He enjoyed getting to hang with the coaches and really liked coach Sal.

Tennessee hasn't offered and is waiting to see his film after this season because of his ACL tear last season. Tennessee will continue to remain in contact with him. He will be able to go 100 percent in his team's fourth game of the season.

CB Brendan Langley who is committed to South Carolina scheduled an official visit to see the Vols October 20th which is the Alabama game.

Tennessee continues to be in good shape with defensive tackle Rod Crayton.
I told you guys this guy was strong. How strong? How about 20 full-bench reps at 325 pounds, 10 reps at 405 and eight reps at 450?

It has been mentioned that Crayton might not be a take if we land Toby Johnson but I do not think this is true at all. Crayton is a four year guy vs. Johnson being a two year guy and one shouldn't affect the other.

Watch running back David Williams closely especially when it comes time for him to take his officials. He really likes the Vols.

Tight end Lucas Wilson is reportedly considering becoming a jet pilot which could factor into his decision. He recently visited Air Force on an unofficial.

Florida lost another commitment in 4 star guard Joshua Outlaw. Gator fans claim it was mutual.

There is a possibility we only take one running back this cycle if it's the right guy. That's the pitch the coaches are giving to some of these guys, it is being said. I think it is much more likely that in the end we take two running backs given the loss of Davante Bourque -- however we get there. I would not at all be disappointed if we just landed Derrick Green though and shut it down, but somehow I doubt Green would be deterred by another back in the class.


That's all I have for now. Follow me on twitter @Sabanocchio for breaking news and follow the blog @BIYLF so that you don't miss a single article.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent info, Sab. Ranks up there with Volquest but with a better price! I've been reading this each week now. Thank you

Sabanocchio said...

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate the kind words.

Anonymous said...

Nice work sab

CrookVolFan said...

Great job man! Excellent info on recruiting....move over Brent Hubbs