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'X' Returns
LSU/Tennessee Chatter
Posted: Wednesday, February 29th, 2012, 8:16 AM
It's senior night @ LSU. It won't be easy tonight for UT. Never is on the road. LSU has a very good front line so UT will have to hit some shots early on from the outside to loosen these guys up. Should be a really interesting matchup. BTW, all three seniors tonight from LSU will graduate in the spring. Good stuff. Link


Finally somebody is saying that THIS Tennessee team has a shot to make the NCAA Tourney. I see where some are discussing UT's chances to make the NIT? The damn NIT? This team? That's a given. These guys are certainly NCAA Tourney caliber right now. The pass the eye ball test. Now it's a matter of enhancing the resume. Four wins in a row will do it IMO. Link


I've told you for years that Phillip Fulmer is a first ballot Hall of Fame head football coach. Link


UT had a chance to set the record for best start in school history in baseball but 'it just caught up with them'. Link



Florida sure looked ugly in a loss to Vandy last night. Link




'X' presented by Smoothie King, goes inside UT's upcoming Junior Day. A huge time in putting together the future signing class.


'Nothing like dropping a few recruiting notes on the loyal Basilio recruitniks.

It is the Wednesday before Tennessee’s second “Junior Day” of the 2013 recruiting cycle. Junior Day will be Saturday, March 3 the day of the Tennessee –Vanderbilt basketball game. The “list” of Junior Day attendees is coming together. Tennessee is going to have a really nice turnout. Small but a nice group of prospects.

Right now, prospects from as far away as Florida to the South and Illinois to the Northwest are scheduled to be in town. Usually, if a kid is traveling that far this early, it is a good sign. Really hope Tennessee gets a couple of its North Carolina targets to drive over the mountain come Saturday to take it all in.

You may be expecting Tennessee to close Junior Day with a number of new verbal commitments. If you are so inclined, you may want to temper your expectations.

Simply put, Coach Dooley prefers to handle Junior Days differently than other coaches. Coach Dooley prefers to host a smaller group of recruits so he and his new staff can spend more quality time with the recruits and vice versa. Nothing wrong with this approach just a philosophical difference from the way other coaches handle Junior Days. Tennessee fans know the Head Football Coach definitely walks his own path so this shouldn’t be a surprise. This year this approach makes sense. Coach Dooley has a made over staff. This will be their first recruiting event as an entire staff (remember Derrick Ansley and Charles Coiner weren’t on staff when the first Junior Day was held). This will be the first time many of these kids have met the coach on the other end of the phone line that has been speaking with them for the last few weeks. Top end 15 to 25 prospects are expected on campus.

Folks that follow recruiting know Texas A&M received something like 10 verbal commitments during their most recent Junior Day, Michigan a half dozen or more, and same with Florida. Tennessee is probably not going to pull a Texas A&M or Michigan. That is just not the way Coach Dooley rolls. Tennessee may pick up one or two commitments who knows ….. but I will have more to offer on this subject as the week progresses.


Tennessee had dress rehearsal of sorts ...a mini Junior Day if you will last Saturday. Three very good prospects, on their own dimes, were on the Tennessee campus to meet coaches and check out facilities. Interior offensive line prospect Dane Crane for Los Angeles, California, safety prospect Leon McQuay III from Seffner, Florida, and nose tackle Rod Crayton from Dadeville, Alabama all were in town. It isn't like you just drive or fly in from the west coast or Florida if you don't have more than a passing interest in a school. You never turn down an opportunity to show a high end prospect around the campus. In this case, Tennessee hosted three really good football prospects. McQuay and Crayton have offers. Crane, on the other hand, has been invited back to camp this summer where he can earn an offer.


Speaking of offers and commitments. The Tennessee recruiting machine continues chugging right along. As of last evening, by my count, Tennessee has offered some 150 prospects scholarships. Plainly stated, this new staff has much more recruiting energy than Coach Dooley’s previous staffs.

If X is betting on it, by looking at the scholarship offers by position, the Tennessee 2013 signing class will include most assuredly include more than one running back. Look at how many running backs have been offered! Tennessee has offered many of the “best of the best” running back prospects in the Southeast and Midwest. Things may be just lining up for Tennessee to land one of the top running backs on its board. Look at the competition. Georgia, who is already full at running back after their 2012 haul, already has a running back committed for 2013. Alabama, who is in a similar pickle numbers wise at running back as Georgia, already has two running backs committed for 2013. Florida also has two running back commitments for 2013. Two Georgia running backs who have caught my eye are Alvin Kamara from Alpharetta, Georgia, and TyShon Dye from Elberton, Georgia. Kamara is a between the tackles type runner that you don’t see getting caught from behind on video. Tennessee doesn’t lead for Kamara per se but expect Tennessee to be in the thick of it for Kamara. As good as Kamara is Dye maybe better. Dye is big, tough, strong, and fast. Dye really doesn’t have a leader. He visited Auburn last weekend but Dye will be taking many visits in the coming weeks. Clemson and Tennessee appear to be recruiting him the hardest at this time. Dye is one of the prospects expected to be on Tennessee's campus next Saturday.


Keep an eye on in state running back Mark Dodson, Jr. from Whitehaven, Tennessee. As stated here before, Dodson has a chance to be in the discussion as the best running back in Tennessee by the end of the football season. In my opinion, Dodson is not an every down back in college. He is a change of pace guy with great acceleration at the second level. In watching more than a fair share of video on 2012 in state running backs, Dodson, Jr., as a junior in high school at that time, was as impressive as any high school senior running back I watched last season. Another impressive in state running back is Corn Elder from Ensworth High School. Elder is likely end up as a defensive back in college but he is a handful for defenses as a running back. Tennessee has got excellent running back prospects all over its early running back board. A full time running backs coach with a pedigree has injected a new life into Tennessee’s running back recruiting.

Much more will be posted here in the weeks to come on running backs.


Maybe the following is only interesting to me and only me. Tennessee continues to evaluate and offer…. and evaluate and offer... ( get the picture?) quarterbacks. In the last few days, Virginia quarterback Ryan Burns, North Carolina quarterback Conner Mitch, and Michigan southpaw slinger Shane Morris have all picked up Tennessee offers. Also, American Heritage (Florida) quarterback Tyler Cogswell, who has been invited to Junior Day, appears close to receiving a Tennessee offer. Here is my “black helicopter theory ” about this continued pursuit of quarterbacks. First, Tennessee wants its 2013 quarterback in place sooner than later (summer at the latest). Second, the top two kids on Tennessee's quarterback board are Christian Hackensburg (Virginia) and Darryl Richardson (Florida) aren't in any hurry to make a decision or, Tennessee isn't in as good a shape with either or both prospects as once thought. Lastly, with these recent offers, in state quarterbacks like Reece Phillips, Max Staver and CAK quarterback Charlie High aren't as high on the quarterback board as initially suggested and don’t seem to be in the mix anytime soon.

Back to the quarterbacks who just received offers. Burns is the deal. Burns plays in a system where he takes most snaps from the shotgun so if he goes to a pro style offense there will be a learning curve. Nonetheless, Burns is a big kid with a smooth looking throwing motion and above average arm. While Tennessee has been out in front with its evaluations and offers for the most part, Burns is one Tennessee was slow to offer. Stanford has been recruiting Burn longer and appear to lead for Burns now.

Mitch plays in a similar offensive system as Burns taking virtually every snap from the shotgun. Mitch is no slouch. He has a better than average arm, has a quick release, and makes good decisions on where to throw the football. Morris, a Michigan commitment, is a lefthander who a quick release and an average arm. Honestly, Burns and Mitch look like better prospects to me than Morris.

As for Cogswell, he is a big, raw kid who right now is an athlete playing quarterback. Cogswell is much less polished than Burns, Mitch, or Morris .

In watching video on all these quarterbacks, Mitch seems to read defenses a little better and make faster decisions than Burns. However, Burns has a really impressive arm.

One thing to remember. X is not here to shape opinion. Watch video of these kids and make your own decision. That is part of the fun of this.

Here is one person who has complete faith in this staff's decision on whatever direction they go for a quarterback.

Consistent with the trend of football prospects making their college choices and committing earlier and earlier in the recruiting process, Texas A&M and Michigan already has 13 verbal commitments; Florida has 10; Alabama has 9; Florida State has 9; Florida and Georgia have 6 each. Compared to last season, Tennessee is ahead of the curve. Tennessee has 4, 2013 verbal commitments. Tennessee didn't’ receive its 4th commitment last year until the middle of last summer. My guys on the inside tell me Tennessee would like to have at least half of its 2013 recruiting hay in the barn by the end of the summer.

More so than in recent seasons, expect many of Tennessee’s recruiting battles to be waged against schools like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina this cycle. Big change in territorial recruiting strategy for 2013 and beyond it appears.

Tennessee will battle Vanderbilt and Ole Miss from time to time especially for in state kids. However, Tennessee appears to be moving back into the big boy recruiting pond.

Finally, after years of Tennessee letting North Carolina and Florida have their way with prospects in the state of North Carolina, Tennessee is trying to re-establish its brand there. Something like 15 offers already to North Carolina prospects including a recent offer to wide receiver Marquez North from Charlotte. North is one of the top wide receiver talents in the Southeast.

So , why no mention above of NC State? Tennessee’s first opponent of the 2012 campaign. Surely, NC State is one of those schools Tennessee will battle for prospects in North Carolina. Well, not so much. NC State’s recruiting approach is a little different. Their approach is “sign and develop” lower ranked prospects as opposed to going after the high rated prospects. Their overall recruiting ranking over the past few years reflects this. NC State hasn't fielded a recruiting class in the top 30 in the country since 2007. In the last five years, based on my quick review, there wasn’t a one of those years where NC State finished any higher than 5th in the ACC team recruiting rankings. Tennessee should roll into Atlanta in August to face NC State with the more talented squad on paper.

From the, "More Things Change The More Things Stay The Same" Department. Georgia is and always will be the cornerstone for Tennessee's recruiting efforts. By my count 30 Georgia prospects (if you count JUCO Defense Tackle Toby Johnson who is from the Atlanta area and Donnie Miles athlete/cornerback from Suwanee who was offered over the weekend) have already been extended offers by Tennessee. Expect that number to grow. Remember this February. Spring evaluations and summer camps are still to follow. Georgia is LOADED with high school football talent in 2013.

More will follow as we try to bridge the gap until Spring Practice.

Peace

X'



Hey 'X', check it out. Nick Saban is back to offering four year scholarships. Guaranteed. Now, here's my question. If it's not in the NLOI, what's stopping Saban from running someone off? Answer: Nothing. But here's Saban reiterating that he's there. Link


SI expose will have Ben Howland playing defense. Link


Final thought: Tiger Woods coveted life as a Navy Seal. You never know, do you? Link



Have a wonderful day

TB

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Knoxville, TN
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