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Live @ Tapp'd On Cumberland Ave
Posted: Friday, June 16th, 2017, 8:28 AM • Permalink
Orange Throat has the floor on this Friday.

Orange Throat
'Tony Nation:

Random musings as we roll out the Orange Carpet for football recruits tomorrow:

QUITE A TURN OF EVENTS for David Blackburn to go from allegedly being in the mix for the UTK athletics director job to resigning at Chattanooga. The aftermath of the surprising announcement has revived conversation about the tortured path UT took to arriving at John Currie as AD and the shoddy way Blackburn and Phillip Fulmer were treated by their alma mater. Everyone we talk to is encouraged by the first few months of Currie's performance, so the issue is no longer about the selection of Currie. As Tony has been saying all week, they should have hired Currie in August when Dave Hart announced. Giving Hart, who led the UT athletics program to Jacques Cousteau depths of performance, a victory lap was asinine.

AS FOR BLACKBURN, insiders around the Chattanooga situation think he got caught up in a situation with a chancellor who didn't hire him and didn't handle some things well and was probably distracted by the long process of the UTK vacancy. However, while it might take a while for the right fit, we think there will be another A.D. job for the man the Chattanooga press calls "the Nick Saban of mid-major coaching hires."

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RECRUITING IS A YEAR 'ROUND PROPOSITION and Butch Jones' program has a lot riding tomorrow with its "Orange Carpet Day" activities. Our top hope for a commitment this weekend? We'd love to see Jackson DE Greg Emerson (#75 nationally, #2 in state) become a Vol, but insiders don't look for that to happen yet although most think he's going to be a Vol.

FOUR STAR DT D'ANDRE LITAKER GOT A JUMP on things by committing on Tuesday. The Murfreesboro product is ranked 7th in a strong class in Tennessee and 240th nationally. Coupled with earlier commit Brant Lawless from Nashville (#9 in Tennessee, #293 nationally), DL coach Brady Hoke is getting a nice pair of defensive interior lineman prospects.

THE VISIT WE WOULD MOST LIKE TO SEE is Memphis defensive end Jordan Davis (#222 nationally, #5 in state), who is an Alabama commit.

JONES TOOK A COMMITMENT FROM Orlando corner Brandon Cross this week. The three-star is #683 nationally and several experts were surprised UT would take him this early.

LITAKER'S COMMITMENT TAKES THE VOLS TO 8th in the nation so far with the 2017 recruiting class. Only LSU at #3 in ahead of the Vols right now in the SEC.


committed to Ohio State this week. Currently ranked #502 nationally by 247 Sports, Teague is certainly tagged to rise in the rankings now that he's a Buckeye commit. This would have been a nice get for the Vols but we certainly like Ty Chandler in the 2017 class better. Lots of time between now and December.

GETTING A LITTLE CONCERNED ABOUT INJURIES on the UT basketball front. Transfer James Daniel III is still nursing a bad ankle, Lamonte Turner is still rehabbing and John Fulkerson isn't back at 100% yet. Hopefully, all three will get important playing time on the summer trip.

NEW BASEBALL COACH TONY "V FOR VICTORY" VITELLO names veteran Frank Anderson as his pitching coach. We love the balance Anderson brings as a former head coach at Oklahoma State and his last five years have been as the pitching coach at Houston. Tony V was impressive on Tony B's show this week.

Orange Throat

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I begin on this Friday with a note of thanks for all that appeared on our Thursday Tony Basilio Show. Mike Huguenin was really interesting as usual while new UT Head Baseball Coach Tony Vitello knocked it out of the park. We had a paisan to paisan conversation for the ages. He's definitely a part of the IGYIV. That's International Geophysical Year of The Italian Vols.

Mark Griffin was really interesting discussing tomorrow's UT hoops Elite Skills Camp that will be going on Saturday afternoon. Griff will have a player from his Summer team at that camp who he promises will be a national recruit.

Speaking of prospects, 'X' has a preview of what to expect from UT's Orange Carpet Day with the football program.

'X' Says
'Recruiting Odd & Ends

Since early May, Tennessee has been on quite the recruiting roll. The last two weeks TENNESSEE has ramped it up a notch. The momentum shows no signs of dissipating either. The last two weeks have seen Tennessee add commitments to the 2018, 2019, and 2020 classes. With Tennessee holding its mother of all recruiting events this weekend (Orange Carpet Day more on this below) , I see no reason why the recruiting momentum won't be sustained.

I am only going to focus on the 2018 class (we'll have plenty of time to discuss the 2019 and 2020 classes in due time). So lets get to it!!!

Where Things Stand?

Tennessee has 12 commitments heading into this weekend. What this means 6 months before anyone can sign a letter of intent I don't know but Tennessee's class is currently rated as the 7th best in the country. 8 of the 12 commitments are in-state prospects. Of the 12 commitments, my opinion is Tennessee has already addressed a number of its pressing needs: tackles on both sides of the ball, a top level safety, and a quarterback that appears to be a good fit for the offense. Tennessee is only half way done with the class but the class is off to a great start.

Look To West Tennessee Vol Fans:

Tennessee has obtained early commitments from many of its top in state targets. 8 to be exact. Now, however, things get tougher By my count there are 6 remaining in-state targets (Greg Emerson and Jordan Davis on the defensive line; Jaylon King and Rayshod Williams at defensive back; Cam Jones at linebacker; and, Jerome Carvin an offensive lineman). With the exception of King, the others attend school in the western part of Tennessee. Beyond Nashville, Tennessee's had its share of issues recruiting in the western part of the state. Each of the above mentioned kids are legitimate prospects and all have one or more SEC offers.

Orange Carpet Day:

Orange Carpet Day is the one event of the year Tennessee pulls out all the stops. Tennessee does a great job with it. Friday many of the kids participate in a one day camp that gives the attendees an opportunity to work with position coaches. Friday night and the remainder of the weekend is filled with a number of special events. Tennessee invites in all its committed prospects and many of its primary targets. Many kids bring their families . Just a really good event put on by Tennessee's recruiting operation.

A Few Of the Key Prospects At Orange Carpet Day:

Greg Emerson, Defensive End Jackson, TN (Top 100 PROSPECT). Tennessee may have the inside track here. With that said, Alabama and Ohio State are going to be in it for Emerson until the end.

Al Blades, Jr. , Cornerback, St Thomas Aquinas, Fl. Blades is a Miami Legacy. He is also a top 30 prospect in the country. It is quite the feat by Kevin Beard and Larry Scott to get this kid, who is more than likely headed to the U, to visit Tennessee on his own dime.

Jaycee Horn, Cornerback. Alpharetta, GA. Horn is one of the top cornerbacks in the country. Alabama is Horn's leader but Tennessee is in this one. He clearly likes Tennessee. He has been on campus 3 or 4 times since the spring.

Richard Jibunor, defensive end/linebacker from Athens, Georgia,. Jibunor would fill a huge need in the 2018 class. Tennessee is in need of multiple long, athletic defensive end/pass rushers. Tennessee is battling Auburn and Alabama for Jibunor.

Caleb Tannor, Lithonia, GA defensive end. Another defensive end high on Tennessee's board. Tannor is one of the top defensive ends in the southeast. Another prospect who has been on campus multiple times. Tennessee is in this one more than many analysts believe . Georgia the instate school really wants him as does Auburn.

Many, many other key targets will also be in town . One thing to note here. Tennessee is recruiting kids this cycle that normally choose between schools like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Fla St, and Ohio State . What I actually should say is not only is Tennessee recruiting these kids, but Tennessee is a legitimate threat to land a number of these prospects.

Running Back Board:

The running back board is down to four in my opinion after Master Teague selected Ohio State last weekend (more on Teague below).
Three of the four top targets will be in town for Orange Carpet Day. They are.....

Lyn J Dixon: If you have followed me here this cycle, you already know I believe Dixon's skill set fits better with Tennessee's scheme than any other running back prospect on the running back board. He is quick and athletic, shows a good burst, and has excellent pass catching skills. i hate to compare him to Alvin Kamara but I will. He has a similar skill set.

Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech join Tennessee on Dixon's list. Dixon is the 7th rated all purpose back in the country and a top 30 back in the country overall.

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Anthony Grant, Buford, GA: Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech are the top three schools for Grant who holds over 30 offers . Grant can run it between the tackles but has sneaky quickness and speed that makes him a similar threat as Dixon. Grant has a number of connections to the Tennessee program so he could be one to watch this weekend. If he were to commit, Tennessee would be getting a very good running back prospect. I'm frankly surprised he is not more highly sought after.

Devon Lawrence , Wake Forest, NC. Lawrence, a 5-'11", 195-pounder, is ranked No. 204 in the country overall and the No. 13 running back in the nation for his class by

This will be Lawrence's first trip from North Carolina to Tennessee. Lawrence is one of the top running backs in the southeast and has offers from most every school in the ACC and the SEC. It will be very interesting to see where Tennessee stands with Lawrence coming out of this weekend.

Tae Provens, 6'0" 187 lbs, Gurley, AL. Provens is another kid (sounds like a broken record) who has been on campus numerous times this spring and really likes Tennessee. My thought here is Provens is such a gifted athlete he could play defensive back, nickel, or slot receiver as well as running back in college. Tennessee is in a three way battle with LSU and Auburn. I think Provens is a little lower on the board than the other three running backs mentioned above.

Master Teague:

By now everyone is aware mid state running back Master Teague chose Ohio State over Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn last Sunday. Teague choosing Ohio State does not bother me and I honestly think Tennessee is a bit relieved. The Teague and Tennessee thing was like one of those arranged marriages that went bad. Tennessee only seemed to ratchet up its recruiting of Teague this spring when he excelled at so many camps and skills competitions. From the football side of things, I am not certain how great a fit Teague is for Tennessee's offense. On the other hand, I think Teague felt a lot of pressure to be interested in Tennessee even though he really never showed that much interest. In the end it was probably best things worked out like they did.

Sometimes it is just best if a really good in-state football player decides to go elsewhere and play. I think this is one of those situations.

I always believed Teague was in Tennessee's top 5 or 6 backs but I never thought at any time he was the top back.

Over / under commitment for weekend:

As I recall, last Orange Carpet Day, Tennessee scored 7 commitments. Recruiting is going much better this cycle than last cycle and I hope Butch exhibits some patience and does not allow 7 kids to commit. Patience needs to be exercised in this critical class. With that said, I could see three or four 2018 kids making their decisions.

In-state linebacker Cam Jones from St Benedict School in west Tennessee is a prospect who has been trending toward Tennessee in the last few weeks; defensive end Richard Jibunor is another prospect that Tennessee has a ton of momentum with now.. at one point earlier in the week the plan was for his family to visit with him; and, running backs Lyn Dixon and Anthony Grant I have to believe are atop Tennessee's board right now.

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I will be watching to see how Tennessee comes out of the weekend with in-state prospects Jordan Davis and Jerome Carvin. Tennessee is head to head with Alabama for both prospects. Davis is committed to Alabama and will probably be hard to flip. Alabama has let Carvin know he is one of the top interior linemen on their board. It is interesting the primary recruiting responsibility falls on two coaches that are in their first year with Tennessee Brady Hoke and Walt Wells. Both have reputations as good recruiters. Will see how they match up against the Tide.

With What Wells?

Though it is early in the cycle, Wells is making a case for one of better recruiters in the SEC. I don't think most fans realize how close Tennessee came to losing Wells to one of our rivals in the SEC east.


Hatfield's Nine
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One would have thought the end of the NBA and NHL seasons would have brought a lull in big sports news. That was certainly not the case in the last 48 hours.

1. Butch Jones has to be smarting from Nick Saban luring away the nation's top punting prospect. Alabama is the elephant in the room, pun intended, in recruiting these days.

2. Tennessee really needs to get everyone healthy to take full advantage of their summer tour. This team needs all the time together it can get due to its relative lack of experience.

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3. Tony Vitello is hitting all the right notes as he makes the media rounds. He certainly has a solid grasp on the public relations component of his job.

4. It'll be interesting to see which organizations attempt to build a roster to challenge Golden State and Cleveland and who sits back for a couple of years. Making that decision will define the career of multiple general managers.

5. Lonzo Ball just does not project as an NBA star when I watch him. I believe he'll be a solid, but unspectacular, pro.

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6. The Floyd Mayweather fight against Conor McGregor will be an abomination to boxing. It will also be a financial windfall for everyone involved.

7. I never believed the NCAA would attempt to vacate a basketball championship. It appears that assumption was erroneous.

Click to Clancy's Tavern & Whiskey House!
8. Rick Pitino was typically arrogant and defiant in his response to the penalties levied against his program. He did himself no favors by acting as if he were an aggrieved party.

9. Mike MacIntyre should feel very fortunate right now. Colorado had cause to fire him and instead chose to give him a massive raise and extension.

Clancy's Tavern is a great place to stop in before and after all the great events downtown. Come in and enjoy a true Irish pub atmosphere.

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Sapphire is Knoxville's premier nightspot. Stop by for a signature cocktail on their patio.

The Blankenship Field renovation project is moving the needle at a steady pace. Go to to keep that going.













-Every once in a while a special talent comes along that you just have to see as much of as possible regardless of what uniform he wears. I do it with Mike Trout and I’m sure non-Yankee fans are doing the same with Aaron Judge....



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Jack Tate, The Movie King, presented by Smoothie King offers his thoughts on Megan Leavey and more this weekend from the silver screen.
Jack Tate - The Movie King

4 ½ stars for the true story “Megan Leavey” (Rated PG-13).

A Marine corporal and a german shepard combat dog named Rex were going nowhere in life until an unlikely pairing of the two gave both of them a true purpose, saving thousands of lives during the course of over 100 combat missions in Iraq.

Kate Mara delivers a compelling performance as Megan Leavey, a young lady who never got along well with others, even after joining the United States Marine Corps. Combat K-9 Rex shared a similar disposition, often taking a bite out of anyone who came in his path. The two are made partners in the K-9 combat unit, with Rex being trained to “sniff out” bombs and other explosives. Over time, Leavey and Rex develop a strong bond and become a solid team once deployed to the war zones of Iraq.

There are several excellent battle scenes in “Megan Leavey” and a number of impressive performances by the supporting cast. Rap/Hip-hop star Common does a great job as Gunny Martin, the Marine Corps leader who is both tough, but caring. There is plenty of drama and emotion in Megan Leavey, right up until the very end of the film.

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3 stars

This movie was pretty disappointing overall, having received solid reviews from most critics. The ending left me feeling empty.

Joel Edgerton plays the lead role, a man trying to protect his family in the wildnerness after a plague of some sort has struck the globe.

Edgerton’s character is generally unlikeable, just the opposite from his roles in “Loving” and “Warrior”.

“It Comes At Night” does a good job of building drama, but falls short of delivering on many occasions.

4 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this film. The always impressive Sam Claflin and Rachel Weisz are outstanding in the lead roles. Claflin plays Phillip Ashley, a young man who wants to get to know the widow of his recently deceased guardian/cousin. Ashley falls for his cousin Rachel, but has good reason not to trust her. He makes bad decisions in trying to “do the right thing” financially for cousin Rachel and soon finds himself paying the price.

Posted: Thu, Dec 14th, 2:12 PM
by Beano
The Solution
Posted: Mon, Dec 11th, 9:08 PM
by Alison
The Revolution That Saved Tennessee Football
Posted: Thu, Dec 7th, 7:58 PM
by Josh
4 stars

Another starring role for Sam Claflin, this time opposite leading lady Gemma Arterton. The pair are cast as screen-writers trying to come up with a script for a British propaganda film about the evacuation of thousands of British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk.

“Their Finest” is filled with rich and interesting characters, all of whom combine to produce an enjoyable movie. Good blend of drama and comedy and moral dilemmas. This film will definitely whet the appetites of movie-goers looking forward to the release of the war-action movie “Dunkirk”, set to open July 21 nation-wide.

MOVIES OPENING TODAY (JUNE 16) – The Book of Henry Paris Can Wait Dean Cars 3 Rough Night All Eyez on Me 47 Meters Down It looks like a great week of new movies opening in Knoxville!

From the movies,

Jack Tate'

So Confused By This Story: I so want to talk with Marcos Garza about this. Luke Heimlich is persona-non grata all of a sudden at Oregon State. Didn't get drafted in MLB. Not invited to CWS by Oregon State while he's the top pitcher on that squad. Really interesting/disturbing story. Link

My About This Questions Are:

Did Oregon State know about this before the story broke?

Is it fair to ostracize a guy who's paid his debt to society for a crime committed in his youth?

Is the registration data base a good thing or a bad thing?

If this happened in Tennessee would we know of this story?

Why don't I want this guy playing for my major league team and why wouldn't I want him at my alma mater?

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Hope you have a great weekend...


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