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Thursday Live at
Bearden Hill Fieldhouse
Posted: Saturday, May 27th, 2017, 3:58 PM • Permalink
‘X’ leads off a stacked and packed Thursday….Wow what a day on the blog and on the air today for us.

Come by Bearden Hill Fieldhouse and pick up some Smokies Tickets on me.

'X' Says
'Random Thoughts from X ….. Recruiting, Football and stuff

It IS Football Season….. Almost

When the incoming freshman class report to campus it signals football is right around the corner. Before you can say 'the summer is hot' SEC Media Days will be here, and a couple of weeks later fall practice begins.

The 2017 signees begin arriving on campus in less than 2 weeks. Really excited to see how some of the signees take to Rock Gullickson's summer conditioning program. Actually, I am anxious to see how the upperclassmen handle it. Right now, Gullickson is the lead dog in changing the mindset and culture of this program.

While there is optimism all the signees will make it academically, truly there are a couple that still have some serious ground to make up.

Recruiting - The Big Picture

Now to recruiting. Tennessee is off to a good start. Other than Tennessee and LSU in the SEC no other school seems to be getting much traction yet. The early 2018 commitments Tennessee secured from top 100 players Cade Mays and Tae Taylor, both Tennessee kids, have helped get this class headed in the right direction. Mays and Taylor have not been bashful about engaging Tennessee targets on social media or at regional skills camps. I believe recent quarterback commitment Adrian Martinez, who I will talk more about below, will be good a recruiting asset as well.

I am not really concerned about the number of commitments or that Tennessee lost a commitment earlier this week. Look at the bigger picture. Look to the prospects Tennessee has targeted and who Tennessee's competition is. From my view, Tennessee seems to be competing more in this cycle with schools like Alabama. LSU, Florida, Auburn, Florida State, Michigan and Ohio State . That is encouraging news. At the end of the post, I will list a few prospects I will be watching over the summer including the schools giving Tennessee its stiffest competition.

Preaching Patience:

Putting the hot seat talk aside, Tennessee has a lot of recruiting momentum. I think getting a commitment from big-time quarterback helps any class but more than the Martinez commitment. The NFL draft plus the somewhat surprising addition of 5th year cornerback Shaq Wiggins have sustained the positive news. Plus, as mentioned up top, this class includes kids that are quite visible on social media. Whether you like it or not recruiting is changing. Certainly having good football skills is the most important attribute to look for in prospects. But, a recruiting class can reap secondary benefits from kids that are social media savvy.

For Coach Jones, he just needs to let this recruiting class come to him. No need to create any fake momentum by reaching for marginal SEC prospects in May. Tennessee has targeted a number of very good players. Finally, after five years, Jones now has a staff of very good recruiters on both sides of the ball. Let those guys do their thing and all Butch Jones has to do is manage and close.

So far so good in this regard. Tennessee has not accepted commitments from four prospects who were ready to go public with their commitment.

Some may argue the commitment of Clarksville native, Shatar McClay is a bit of a reach. In Tennessee’s eyes he isn’t . If McClay's affairs are all in order, McClay will be one of the most hotly-pursued recruits in the state of Tennessee.

The head scratcher so far is taking Florida quarterback prospect Michael Penix's commitment this early when clearly Adrian Martinez was clearly the top target on the board. Honestly though, this staff has quietly killed it in recruiting even though they have been together 90 days.

Martinez et al:

A couple of comments on Adrian Martinez who has been discussed a great deal here. Martinez was one of five quarterback prospects that visited Tennessee for the Orange & White game. He was the top target on a list of very good prospects on Tennessee’s board. Think back a year ago when Tennessee was recruiting 2018 quarterbacks like Trevor Lawrence who committed to Clemson and Justin Fields who committed to Penn State and thought to be the leader at different times for both. Fans were very concerned and disappointed when Tennessee missed on both.

Time will write the story on Tennessee's quarterback future but a case can be made that Martinez may be a better overall fit at Tennessee than either Lawrence or Fields. To me, Martinez has some intangibles in his game you can’t coach. He seems to understand defenses and throwing windows. With a lot of quarterbacks, those things are instinctive and very hard to learn regardless of how much film you watch.

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Even if it is unfair to Martinez , the bar has been set high for him. He has publicly compared himself to Josh Dobbs and there are already comparisons to the similarities in his skills and Jarrett Guarantano. I would suggest patience here. He is not even a senior in high school.

Larry Scott & Walt Wells will be better than Mike DeBord & Don Mahoney:

Here is my random football thought. You will see Tennessee make more of a commitment to lining up and trying to out physical their opponents at the point of attack. Tennessee hasn’t done much of that over the past few years . Power running would be welcomed around here. If you want to change your identity as a football team, nothing does that like lining up and running the ball down the throat of the opponent. The combination of Larry Scott and Walt Wells want to establish Tennessee as a power running football team.

Speaking of Walt Wells. It is inexplicable that he had a limited coaching role the past couple of seasons. Not only is he changing the culture in the offensive line room but he seems to have calmed down the all-important mid-state region down when it comes to recruiting. As we have posted here before, Wells has the trust of many key people in the mid-state and has built a solid network of contacts. I’m shocked that Tennessee let him interview with other schools and almost allowed him to sign on with one of its SEC east rivals.

Let Hoke Recruit:

Speed rush defense ends and fortifying the defensive tackle position…… These are two of Tennessee’s most pressing recruiting priorities in 2018. Tennessee is off to a great start with the commitment of Brant Lawless a mid-state defensive tackle who Alabama really wanted. If you are a Tennessee fan, you should take some comfort in the fact Tennessee’s new defensive line coach is also one of the top recruiters in the country. All Brady Hoke needs is time. He brings a track record of getting defensive lineman ready to play in the NFL. Hoke is a solid position coach, well-known as an excellent evaluator and developer of talent, and a solid citizen. Recruiting here will be fine.

Running Back Will be OK:

I was surprised when Jeshaun Corbin decommitted on Tuesday, Actually I was probably more surprised when he committed a few weeks ago. You see at that time, Corbin wasn’t one of the top running backs guys on their board... at least that is what I learned. The running back board is wide open right now.

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Here are a couple targets:

Lyn-J Dixon from Butler, Georgia. Butler is 5’10” 185 lb. prospect. Dixon is quick, runs with exceptional vision, and has good pass catching skills out of the backfield. Tennessee was one of the first schools to offer Dixon and he has been on campus multiple times. Dixon is a three star running back with a 5 star offer list. Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas, Michigan State, Florida, LSU, Louisville, Georgia, Miami and Ole Miss all in the mix. Dixon is as good a fit for Tennessee’s offense as I have seen in the 2018 class.

Tae Provens, 6'0" 190 lbs., Gurley, Alabama. Provens has family connections to East Tennessee and that seems to have helped Tennessee position itself in Provens’ top group along with Auburn and Southern California. Provens is a bigger running back compared to the other running backs. As bigger running backs are prone to do, he does seem to run more upright. He claims to run a 4.5 forty and looks every bit that fast on film.

I can't discuss running backs without talking about mid state prospect Master Teague. Tennessee is firmly in Teague's top three along with Georgia and Auburn. The longer Teague postpones his commitment the better off Tennessee is here. Tennessee has been playing catch up in the recruitment of Teague since last fall. The best hope Tennessee has is for Teague to push back a decision until the fall to see what Tennessee's run game looks like.

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Why Tennessee Only Signs 3 Wide Receivers in the 2018 class:

I have to give wide receiver recruiting in this class an A. Two wide receivers are committed : Tae Taylor from McMinnville who some believe is the top prospect in the state of Tennessee, and Jatavious Harris a speedster from Georgia. Here is where Butch Jones must practice patience. Even though our Head Coach loves to sign wide receivers, he must be selective. Another wide receiver in this class must be a game changer type and here is the reason.

In 2019, the in-state wide receiver talent is as impressive as I can recall. Legitimately, 4 or 5 2019 in-state wide receivers may end up being top 100 players nationally. You don’t want to taint your opportunity to recruit those kids unless you have a chance to sign at a really dynamic guy.

That means there are a number of really good wide receivers in-state this cycle Tennessee frankly probably won’t have room for.

Kids to Watch Over the Next 3 Months:

Over the next 3 months, many of the Tennessee targets noted below will make their college selections. I have listed the kids and Tennessee's competition for each one.

Jeremy Carvin, offensive lineman Cordova, Tennessee. Carvin has an SEC ready body. He has the perfect build for an interior lineman. He reminds me of the interior linemen Alabama recruits that pound defensive tackles into submission for 4 quarters. Carvin is the second best lineman in the state behind Cade Mays. This is a Tennessee -Alabama battle.

Brendon Harris, safety, Chattanooga. Tennessee feels pretty good about Harris but Florida, Ohio State, Auburn, and Alabama are nipping at their heels. Harris has emerged as one of top safeties in the Southeast.

Jaycee Horn, cornerback Atlanta, Georgia. Horn is an athletic, shut down type corner. Tennessee is battling Alabama and Clemson for Horn.

Jordan Davis, defensive end, Memphis. Davis is committed to Alabama and would fill a need in Tennessee’s class as a pass rush end. Normally, a commitment to Alabama would never take a visit to Tennessee but Davis is scheduled to visit campus in June. Florida is involved here as well.

PJ Mustipher, defensive tackle Ownings Mill, Maryland. Legitimately one of the top defensive tackles on the eastern seaboard. Tennessee, Ohio State , Penn State, Alabama all feel good about their chances.

Jacob Warren, tight end, Knoxville, Tennessee. An athletic but raw down the field threat from the tight end position. Tennessee, Oregon, South Carolina here.

James Mitchell, tight end/athlete, Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Mitchell is one of top tight end prospects in country for 2018. Excellent athlete and very capable of playing basketball in college. For football purposes his top three schools are Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Clemson.

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Reuben Unije, offensive lineman, IMG Academy, Florida. Tennessee may have a slight lead over Alabama and Florida. Unite has been to Tennessee multiple times and is expected back in June.

Greg Emerson, defensive end, Jackson, Tennessee. Top defensive prospect in Tennessee this cycle. Everyone wants this kid. Tennessee, Ohio State, and Alabama are the top schools right now.

D'Andre Litaker, defensive tackle, Murfreesboro,
Tennessee. One of top prospects in state this cycle. Tennessee is trending here. LSU and Louisville are involved.

Richard Jibenor, defensive end/athlete. Tennessee is making up ground but Auburn still leads here. Jibenor would fill a big need at defensive end.

Tobe Umerah, defensive end, Macon, Georgia.. Umerah is committed to Stanford but is listening to other schools including Tennessee. Coach Hoke seems to have struck up a good relationship here early on.



'X'...That's an awesome report. I'm not worthy...Thank you my man! I sure hope people appreciate the free content they find here on a daily basis.

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Today's Guest List On The Show:

11:05 Grant McCartney: American Ninja Warrior

11:30 Kendall Rogers

Noon: Conner Pearce Smokies Baseball

12:30 Wiz White & Mark Griffin

Should be an amazing day on the air!

Heard the news really early yesterday from Cloney that Dave Serrano was told Tuesday night that this weekend was to be his final homestand in Knoxville. We both decided not to report this though we felt certain it was coming down. The reason I didn't make a big to-do about this is that I decided not to kick Serrano. The poor guy tried here. He just couldn't do the job. Now that it's down in black and white, it's highly strange to think that not only did Serrano fail to hit the mark, he will walk out of here with a record worse than Todd Raleigh. That's really saying something. I don't think any of us knew how good we had it here in this market when Phillip Fulmer, Bruce Pearl, Pat Summitt and Rod Delmonico were all on campus at the same time. Tennessee is a loooooooong way from this these days at UTK.

I'm hearing Chris Woodruff's name prominently with the Tennessee Tennis opening. A former player with high level professional experience and limited coaching experience to lead a program at his alma mater that's fallen into disarray. Now, that has a great beat and you can dance to it.

Ron Slay is a recent graduate of UT. He's one of my all time favorite players but more importantly one of my all time favorite people. It's Ron's hope to land a coaching job in college sports. He told me on the air that he would even consider coaching women. I publish this letter today for Ron with the knowledge that a bunch of folks in the industry click on this space daily. If you would please retweet today's blog, let's get his name in front of as many people as possible. If you're in the industry and reading this, I want to say unequivocally that Ron Slay would be a wonderful addition to your coaching staff/organization.
To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Ron Slay. For the past 13 years, I have been a professional basketball player. My career was a fruitful one as I had the privilege to play in over nine countries. I retired in 2016 to fulfill my requirements for my Bachelor's Degree at the University of Tennessee. My playing days have come to an end. I am interested in returning to the college game, but this time as mentor, recruiter, and Coach. My Bachelor's degree is in Africana Studies.

As a player at the collegiate level, I was a member of the 2003 All America team which included current NBA greats, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. That year, I was also the Southeastern Conference player of the year. i led the conference in scoring and ended as its third-leading rebounder. However, it was during my Junior year that I sustained a season ending injury that forced me into a period of reflection about the fragility of sport and my life when my playing days have ended. It was then that I resolved that I would walk across the stage as a college graduate one day.

My life as a young man from a low income and single parent household has taught me some valuable lessons. It has also made me eager to help other aspiring student athletes acquire the self-discipline to succeed. I am confident that, if given the opportunity, my experiences (including a Senior year at Oak Hill Academy), insight, and relational ability could be valuable assets to your coaching staff. If you have any interest in my potential services as a coach and mentor, I am available to visit upon request. Please feel free to contact me at the following: (513)578-7229 or (email).


Ron Slay

Awesome conversation with 24/7's Jerry Meyer regarding hoops recruiting. Tennessee is involved with some interesting prospects but the three main takeaways I got from Meyer are the following.

1) The Vols absolutely need to land a credibility recruit if they hope to compete with the big boys for prospects. This is a non-negotiable.

2) The reason the SEC is getting better and better players is that SEC coaches are getting messier in the grey areas.

3) Tennessee's staff just doesn't have the pop on the recruiting trail that others in this league do right now.

4) Tennessee's secretive approach to recruiting doesn't make much sense in an age where they should try to use the media to build momentum through hype. This is what the big boys do. Tennessee's secretive approach would make more sense for a mid-major.

5) While the Vols are more active with big names they're not tracking to land those guys as of now. See reasons 2,3 & 4 as a few reasons why.

6) The Cuonzo Martin/Mizzou deal saw Michael Porter Sr hired BEFORE Cuonzo. Lorenzo Romar was initially supposed to get that job.

4th Annual Ellen Hatcher
Memorial Volunteer Classic
Men's Class E Division
Softball Tournament

(Guaranteed Three Games)Entry Fee $225

Get in Early!
Caswell Park
May 20, 2017
Call Lynn Hatcher @ 250-3441
To Register
In May of 2013, my Angel Ellen passed away from Leukemia. She was chair of the mission team at St. Mark United Methodist Church and was very passionate about the FISH Hospitality Pantry to feed the hungry. All proceeds from the tournament will go to the Scott Ave. FISH pantry with the focus being "Feeding the Kids" from the Christenberry, Oakwood, and Caswell Park areas.

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by Beano
Posted: Mon, Jan 15th, 11:03 PM
by Doink
National Champions!
Posted: Tue, Jan 9th, 12:24 AM
by Alison
The Wiz & Griff Commeth:
Tony Wiz White and Mark Griffin will join the show in hour #2 to discuss the summer hoops circuit. Both of these former Vols are coaching teams and interfacing with elite talent week in and week out. Tony has a nationally ranked 15 u team based right here in Knoxville with players wanted by every program in the country. Should be an interesting segment.

Huge night tonight in Nashville. I will be in the building for game 4 of the Western Conference Final with the Preds leading 2-1 on the Ducks. The atmosphere in that place is going to be amazing. If you see me at the game, please come up and introduce yourself. I'd love to visit with you. I'll be the guy in standing room only milling around every corner of that venue. This will suit me just fine as I will be a nervous wreck during this game. The Preds have stolen my heart this off-season. I love this team. What a great story it would be to see them get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Amazing for a team ranked #16 out of the 16 teams to make the post season.

Tomorrow at Orange Throat dives deeper inside UT hoops recruiting. Plus Movie King Jack Tate offers his first of many reviews of the summer movie season.

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Give a $5 Christmas gift that will be remembered all year. Send your family and friends FISH Hospitality Pantries Christmas Gift Cards and help end hunger in Knoxville. More info about giving FISH Christmas cards can be found at:
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