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Live Tuesday @
Wings Xpress
Posted: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016, 6:23 AM • Permalink
Thanks for being there. Great to be back in the mix and the hunt with you. I appreciate your grace in indulging me with a break. It was terrific getting away. I had the pleasure of visiting family in PA. My Dad turned 90! Great stuff. Fun times. God bless America.

We start today with X and Vol Colonel. Can you beat this stuff for free? Are you kidding me? What a tremendous family of contributors I'm blessed to have. Spread the word and share a link but don't copy and paste the recruiting stuff. I guess what I'm asking is for you to respect the process and the time it took to assemble this.

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'X' leads off the hit parade today.

'X' Says
'Fresh off a productive recruiting weekend, Tennessee kept the balling rolling Monday. Tennessee filled a position of need for the 2017 class by receiving a public commitment from St. Thomas Aquinas , Florida, defensive tackle Kivon Bennett.

Bennett is a 6-foot-3, 265-pound prospect. Bennett chose the Vols over the Alabama , LSU, , Florida, Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan and Georgia, among several other scholarship offers.

Bennett is rated as a four star prospect and his offer list is a who's who of tens from all across the country.

Bennett is a high motor guy. True , he is a bit undersize as a junior in high school at 265 lbs but he has plenty of time to add good weight. Bennett comes from an excellent high school program that plays the best competition in the country on a year in and year out basis.

Tennessee is going to get hit hard by graduation after the 2017 campaign across the defensive front. The addition of prospects like Bennett and Eric Crosby from Virginia certainly take a step toward backfilling the defensive line coffers.

Bennett's commitment was the latest in a weekend wrought with greatest recruiting hits. Tennessee had a landmark Orange Carpet recruiting event on Saturday. The football talent on campus Saturday was as good a group collectively as any group ever on campus for a Tennessee football event.

By the time the folding chairs were put away Saturday evening Tennessee had picked up 7 new 2017 football commitments. For you rankings guys, Tennessee vaulted from roughly the 22nd ranked 2017 class coming into the weekend and now the class is a consensus top ten class across the recruiting services.

Personally, stars and ratings by these services don't matter that much to me. Butch Jones and Bob Welton evaluations are plenty good enough for me. Too, I go by eye test and speaking to those in the know like Dr, Sinclair who will give you his opinion on Wednesday.

In summary, Tennessee cemented its foundation for the 2017 class over the weekend.

A snapshot of each 2017 commitment that went public on Saturday.

Latrell Bumphus, Savannah, Tennessee. Bumphus is a 6'4" 235 lb jumbo athlete that held offers from 15 plus schools including Texas A&M, Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama, Southern California, and Oregon. Bumps is one of the top 10 prospects in state for 2017. Interested to see how Bumphus develops physically between now and time he shows up on campus next June. He will probably get a look at tight first at Tennessee. He may be a better fit as a defensive end or defensive tackle. Bumphus is a kid this staff wanted from the onset. He is a four star prospect and I would anticipate his offer list to do nothing but expand as he goes through his senior season.

Princeton Fant, Lavergne, Tennessee (6'2" 207 lbs). Fant is being recruited as a wide receiver. He was on everyone's radar until a knee injury cut his junior season short. Tennessee has stayed with him and they may be getting steal here. He seems to have fully recovered from the injury. Before his injury, Fant was as good a prospect as any of the other in state prospect. He is athletic with good hands
Tennessee beat Ole Miss for Fant.

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Tre Coleman, West Monroe, Louisiana. I think Trey Coleman is a steal. It is clear the two top running backs on Tennessee's board are Ty Chandler and Cam Akers. To be sure, Tennessee will take at least two backs in the 2017 class. Is it possible Chandler and Akers both fall Tennessee's way ? Sure, it is possible but not probable. Coleman is at the top of that tier of prospects just below Chandler and Akers. He is a big kid standing 6'1" 205 lbs. What I like about Coleman is he is quick, shifty, good vision and rarely does one tackler bring him down. He is a winner too. He was 5A All-State First-Team and LSWA Class 5A All-State Honorable Mention last season and the leading rusher for the No. 1 ranked team in the state's highest classification. Arkansas and Miss State were the others seriously involved for Coleman. Both those schools regularly produce tough minded and solid SEC running backs.

Theo Jackson, 6'2" 175 lbs for Nashville Ensworth High Tennessee. The VOLS got a jump on the competition namely LSU, Alabama, Miami, and Ole Miss among others by doing a timely evaluation of Jackson. Jackson is a long and lean athlete who could play receiver or defensive back in college. Regardless of what side of the ball he plays on Jackson is instinctive and has excellent ball skills. I would anticipate Jackson picks up many more suitors into his senior year of high school.

Tre Lawson 6"5" 245 lbs North Augusta, South Carolina. Lawson is an intriguing prospect. He projects as a defensive end or defensive tackle depending on how he fills out in college. Looking at his frame, Lawson can easily carry enough weight to play inside in the SEC. . Lawson is rated as the 8th best prospect in the South Carolina for 2017. Tennessee beat South Carolina , Florida and Florida State for Lawson. Lawson has tremendous upside and it is unlikely those schools will cease recruiting him. I don't think anyone questions the athleticism or potential. The question is whether he goes at it 100% all the time. His potential is unquestioned.

Jaquan Henderson 6'1" 210 lbs linebacker from Newton Covington, Georgia. My understanding is Henderson is a linebacker that was at the top of the staff's want list for linebackers. Henderson is a perfect fit for an outside linebacker in Tennessee's scheme cut in the same mold as Reeves-Maybin and Quarte Sapp. He is as quick and athletic as a defensive back and tracks the ball carrier like a missile. Michigan and UCLA were the other teams standing out for Henderson. Another great pick up for Tennessee.

Jordan Tucker Roswell, Georgia. 6'7" 335 lbs , offensive tackle. Love the commitment from Jordan Tucker. Tucker is a project and he needs to spend a lot of time in the weight room and on the treadmill reshaping his body. He has ample time to do that. Tucker has a couple of things that can't be coached. He has size and length. More importantly for me anyway is he plays with a mean streak. Tucker won't be rushed to get on the field here because of the depth Tennessee has amassed at tackle. He is a development prospect and he fits the blueprint of the offensive tackle bodies this staff loves to collect. Tucker held a dozen or so offers. Tennessee beat North Carolina and South Carolina for Tucker.


Over the last couple of weeks, I have noticed something very interesting has happened with respect to recruiting. Tennessee's recruiting machine has found another gear. Almost like new life has been blown into the recruiting operation.

Maleik Gray arguably one of the top three prospects in state for 2017 spurned serious runs by Florida State and Alabama and publicly committed to Tennessee.. That appeared to get recruiting kick started on the eve of Orange Carpet Day. Now, it appears recruiting is rolling.

In addition to this really nice public news here are a few other key pieces of information to keep in mind as Tennessee fills out the remainder of its 2017 class.

Tennessee IN MY OPINION, is now a clear leader for the following 2017 prospects **

Wide Receiver Tee Higgins Oak Ridge, TN)
Running Back Ty Chandler (Nashville, TN)
Offensive Lineman Trey Smith (Jackson, TN)
Offensive Lineman Riley Locklear (Huntington, WV)
Offensive Line Billie Ross (Huntington,WV)
Defensive Back DeAngelo Gibbs (Suwanee, GA)
Defensive Tackle Breyon Gaddy (Virginia Beach, VA)
Defensive End Jordan Williams Defensive End (Virginia Beach, VA)

Too, Tennessee is in the top schools for:

Defensive End Malik Herring (Forsyth, Ga)
Quarterback Jack Sears (San Clemente, CA)
Running Back Cam Akers (Clinton, MS)
Wide Receiver Jeremiah Holliman (Covington, GA)
Def Tackle Kivon Bennett (St Thomas Aquinas, FL)
Linebacker Justin Foster (Shelby, NC)
Defensive End Michael Allen (Buford, GA)
Cornerback Lamont Wade (Clairton PA)

** For you star gazers all the kids Tennessee "leads for" or is in "the top group for" are 4 or 5 star prospects

And, while I believe it is still pie in the sky thinking, mid state athlete Jacoby Stevens who I never thought was coming to Tennessee may least give Tennessee a closer look than I ever believed that he would.

Appreciate you reading.

'X' '

'X'!!! Awesome...Awesome...Awesome stuff!!! I really appreciate you being there and keeping us in the know wherever and whenever you feel like it. That's some wonderful output right there.

We follow this spate of amazing activity from 'X' with a Tennessee Basketball Report from Y. He tells me Tennessee currently leads for the following four star basketball players.


Thank you 'Y'. I guess Rick Barnes and his staff refused to be showed up by Butch Jones and his staff. Hopefully they'll continue to take the challenge.

Now that we've heard from 'X' and 'Y' today, your Vol Colonel is back again today after a lengthy break from

Vol Colonel
It's been seven weeks since the last time we talked some Tennessee Athletics here on Tony's Blog. I say it's been far too long, so without further ado, let's peel back an orange together.

Since the last time we talked, Tennessee's opening game with Appy State has been moved up to Thursday, September 1st. This was a no brainer move here. We would have garnered very little national exposure playing on Saturday. Now, we open the college football season in prime time. I'm not big on playing these Thursday night games, but this is an opportunity you just don't pass up. This one rings all the bells. With all the exposure and love the Volunteers have been getting this offseason you can believe the hype will grow even bigger in front of a packed house in Neyland Stadium and a national television audience on opening night. Three and a half hours worth of Vols to wall coverage. You can't put a price tag on it!

Beat what I'm sure will be a pretty solid App St team that competes, and you can believe more fuel is going straight to the fire as far as hype for the 2016 season. You follow that one up with the Battle at Bristol in what will be the largest crowd to ever witness a college football game and you beat Virginia Tech and you mark it down, Volunteer Fever will be back like it hasn't been back since Phil's best years.

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I'm putting us down for 2-0 after these first two games. That would give us a 8 game win streak to open the season. This place is going to explode. Let there be no doubt, 2016 is put up time for Coach Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers. I believe we'll put up too. You can argue this is the most talented starting roster on both sides of the ball in the Southeastern Conference. Did you hear that, Alabama fans? Did you hear that, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, and the rest of the contenders and pretenders in this league? This team is loaded. Will we live up to the hype? Can we win the SEC and go the college football playoff?

I think the talent on this team is undeniable. The talent alone, should get you 10-11 wins. I think the real question for this season is, can Butch Jones and this staff coach you beyond 10-11 wins? Are the blunders that cost the 2015 Oklahoma and Florida games nothing more than a memory?

Those are the most important questions to be answered this season. Here's 10 1/2 more questions for the 2016 campaign. (not in order of importance)

1a Will the passing game improve?
1b Will it matter?
2. How healthy will Shy Tuttle be?
3. Will Dillon Bates rise up or be a bust?
4. Can Zach Azzanni get improvment out of the receiving corps?
5. Will Preston Williams be a star?
6. Will Tennessee get the Florida monkey off it's back?
7. How big of a difference will Bob Shoop be on defense?
8. Will Evan Berry see an expanded role on offense?
9. Will Alvin Kamara get more touches this year?
10. Will the Georgia and Texas A&M games turn out to be tougher games than Florida and Alabama this year?

That last question is no joke. Winning on the road in the SEC is a tall task.

I don't know how many of you watched the recent Clay Travis interview of Derek Dooley, but for entertainment purposes only, I thought it was pretty darn good. I also though Dooley was so full of it, when he talked about how he recruited here. One telling fact Dooley let out of the bag when talking about recruiting. He said they recruited hard, that he had stacks upon stacks of evaluations of players on his desk. That's the difference between him and Jones. Dooley talks about having players evaluation files stacked on his desk like it's a big cold call bank of phone numbers for a cheap boiler room salesman. The fact of the matter is, Dooley never even attended one Friday night high school football game while at Tennessee. Butch Jones work ethic in recruiting says it all about him.

That's all for this week. Remember you can find me on Twitter @TheVolColonel

Have a Great Day and Go Big Orange

Your Vol Colonel


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