Hooker: UT's commitments still committed

Dave Hooker

Tennessee's recruiting surely will take a hit after losing two of its top recruiters last weekend. Right?

Former receivers coach Frank Wilson had Louisiana and Mississippi locked down before he bolted to LSU.

Former UT running backs coach Eddie Gran, who is at Florida State, is better known in South Florida than the beach.

Yet whatever impact the two losses will have on the Vols hasn't taken place. So far, the Vols haven't even broke stride.

UT picked up a commitment from Hialeah (Fla.) High School defensive tackle Calvin Smith on Monday. Hialeah is just outside of Miami - Gran territory.

The Vols haven't picked up any prospects from Wilson's areas yet, but it doesn't seem they've lost any ground, either. Wilson's stance on the coaching transition should help the Vols hold onto his commitments.

Wilson said individual morals play a part in an unwritten rule in recruiting.

"Those kids that I played a pivotal role in recruiting, I will not recruit (to LSU)," Wilson said Tuesday. "For the most part, LSU is not recruiting them anyway. Any kids that committed to the University of Tennessee will not be recruited by myself personally, nor do I even think by (LSU)."

Numbers dictate as much. The Vols have 23 commitments. LSU has 24. Both schools are zoned in on the few remaining prospects on their board to fill the few remaining scholarships they have available.

Wilson played a part in several commitments, including junior college defensive lineman Ken Adams from Wesson, Miss., defensive tackle Risean Broussard from Lake Charles, La., and receiver Markeith Ambles from McDonough, Ga.

"I didn't like it but it happens. You've just got to go with it," said Ambles, who reaffirmed his UT commitment this week.

A common UT recruiting practice could be viewed as a weakness or strength, depending on the prospect.

More than UT's previous staff, these Vols recruit prospects as a group effort. A lead recruiter, a position coach, a coordinator and the head coach are often involved with each prospect.

On the downside, that practice can broaden the impact of a lost coach. Wilson, for instance, was well liked by UT receiver commitment Matt Milton from Mascoutah, Ill.

Milton, who was primarily recruited by Ed Orgeron, said Wilson's move was a shock.

"We were really close from when we talked to each other," Milton said. "My mom liked him a lot. He was a good guy."

Milton said Wilson's departure won't affect his decision too much. That brings to light an advantage of group recruiting: single relationships won't often undermine a commitment.

That, however, won't likely be the case with 2011 UT commitment Anthony Johnson from O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans. It's hard to imagine the defensive tackle choosing UT over LSU considering he's related to Wilson, who was a beloved coach at O. Perry Walker.

As for Gran, he helped secure six UT commitments: kicker Michael Palardy from St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, receiver Ted Meline from North Miami High School, offensive lineman Jose Jose from Miami Central High School, athlete Delvin Jones from Palmetto (Fla.) High School, linebacker Ralph Williams from Gulliver Prep in Miami and receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who attended Northwestern High School in Miami before starring at El Camino Community College.

Palardy, who some believe is the best kicker prospect in the nation, didn't seem affected by Gran's decision even though Palardy professed so much admiration for Gran when he committed in September.

"I committed to UT and I don't plan on changing my mind," Palardy said via text message.

Such promises won't console UT's fan base. They can't wait for National Signing Day in February.

Until then, hiring a few solid recruiters to replace Wilson and Gran would help fans rest easier. Wilson has no doubt that Kiffin will do just that. Just don't get in a hurry.

"He's going to take his time," Wilson said. "He's going to do it right and he'll get the best coach available, whether it be the NFL or college.

"He'll bring in someone that's just as good. He won't miss a beat. Lane's very smart. I expect those guys to be very competitive and very soon competing for a national title. They'll do a great job."

Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He may be reached at hookerd@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 34

volsfan4ever writes:

I'm first for once?

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

Like the end of the article said, National Signing Day is where it all comes to fruition. Until then, verbal commits are meaningless. I trust Kiff & Co. I think we'll end up just fine.

TennesseeTuxedo writes:

All you bed wetter, the red-headed tuba player included, need to chill out. Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron are renowned recruiters. They have dealt with changes in coaching staffs before.

This staff likely expected Gran and Wilson to leave at the end of the season and took precautions to protect it's investments in the recruiting world.

Not one recruit has dropped it's commitment to the Vols over one of the coaches leaving. Ken Adams may end up at Auburn as a result, but everything is okay at UT. Lane Kiffin will make solid hires in replacing them.

http://www.thevolunteeronline.com

ArealVolFan writes:

Don't let frauds and liars like Post_in_waiting a.k.a. DaMan fool you. This staff will continue to recruit and recruit hard. Kiffin will bring in excellent replacements for Gran and Wilson and we will be fine. Don't let the former "pro athlete" in the "know" fool you. Kiffin and company will do great at UT over the next several years.

volsfan4ever writes:

Sounds like wilson is a class act.Now I wish gran would come out and say something similar.I have to admit I was a little worried at first but now that I know it's not just one coach recruiting these kids I feel a little better.Still though,kinda disturbing hearing rumors about thompson going to louisville.I think alot of teams are just down right jealous as h*ll because kiffins only been here a year and they see all the great recruits they are bringing in!

Pdiddy10 writes:

who could be a possible hire? just throwing random random random things out there.. i dont care

volsfan4ever writes:

So how many scholarships do we have left?6?

AFVol423 writes:

Coaching changes are part of the game. They happen every year. Getting one to stay for long is the real trick. We will be fine in recruiting. Just hate to see good position coaches leave after just one year.

beachvol1 writes:

You know, it is hard enough to get recruits to commit these days and stick with it but it doesn't help with just going public and putting negative thoughts in these 18 yr old kids head...David, you are a good sports writer but please stay away from articles that these kids read via internet that may have an effect on getting them to stay with their committment...my feelings, once a Vol always a Vol...

mlsoft#228820 writes:

Parlardy is the main one I worry about. Glad to hear that at least for now, he is still committed.

mlsoft

allvol9 writes:

Wilson sounds like a classy guy....like his recruiting morals. Can't wait to see who Kiffin hires.

VOLoom writes:

Reaves is Kiffins brother in law.

vol_chaz writes:

Its such a fluid situation, the next few weeks. The chain reaction will be set, with a few teams.. Cincinnati will be open soon, UF will need to replace 3 coaches, as well as Bama too. FSU just fired 3 D Coaches, and Strong will want to build a staff at UL, and KU is still open. It'll be a while before the dust settles, but hey, we get to pick 2 new coaches too.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

in response to 1stAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's uncalled for. This is the first many of us have heard from Wilson and a bit more info on what some of the recruits are saying. The group recruiting thing is also something that hasn't been discussed.

Thanks for the article Dave!

GahLee writes:

Rumors of Lance Thompson and Jim Chaney looking at other jobs have surfaced.

CLT a possibility as Louisville D.C. and CJC has thrown his name in the hat for H.C. at Marshall.

CLT is to this point a rumor ( I hope ), CJC to Marshall is very real.

I have a feeling we will be seeing this type of article again and fairly soon.

Stepchild_nFL writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Long,
I think you hit the nail on the head. Our head coach has been too advanced, beyound his years, for our head coach is by committee. Not to say others don't contribute, but as long as we maintain the brotheran of the big 3, TN will be fine. Hate to see Wilson and Gran depart. They are class acts but they will be replaced with class acts. This is Tennessee.

BSweet writes:

Bad news that I'm sure will have the trolls giggling like school girls and wetting themselves, according to the NY Times, UT's recruiting practices are being investigated by the NCAA. Read about it on volnation.

ccVOLSdhf writes:

Prediction 1
Kelley goes to ND
We all know that won't work 2-4 yrs max

After getting his arss handed to him 4 yrs straight Fagmeyer will be just like the OBC when he knew he was fixing to lose to the vols for a few yrs READY TO GO!

After Kelley fails ND will have no choice but to hire only the biggest name out there with major program exp. after finishing 3rd in the sec east a couple times Urban will have his bags packed.... 2012

Prediction 2
CLK-Offence
CMK-Defence
As long as these two coaches are in place TENN will be fine. As I see it CPF's downfall was losing cutcliff. No other OC could come close to calling the game like cutcliff and neither could CFP. Which was the problem once the offence started to fail recruiting started to decline and CFP couldn't make the off better only when cutcliff came back did the vols look like the vols of the manning era

As stated above
CLK calls the Offence
CMK calls the Defence
This sort off downfall will not happen as long as the Kiffen's are on the sidelines

Don't get me wrong I know we need, and I like all our assistants and hope to keep them all as long as possiable, But the kiffen's are the briantrust....As long as we keep them I think The BO future is bright GBO......HERE'S TO THE NEXT DECADE OF DOMINANCE!!!!!!!

69grad writes:

Hooker, it's "broken" stride, not broke stride. I guess grammar skills are not required at KNS.

BERRY_4_HEISMAN writes:

What is Offence and Defence? Do you really know football? How can you not know how to spell offense and defense? Not once, but twice, so it wasn't just a fluke. Hint: Cick on the Preview Comment button before Posting.

CrankE writes:

in response to ccVOLSdhf:

Prediction 1
Kelley goes to ND
We all know that won't work 2-4 yrs max

After getting his arss handed to him 4 yrs straight Fagmeyer will be just like the OBC when he knew he was fixing to lose to the vols for a few yrs READY TO GO!

After Kelley fails ND will have no choice but to hire only the biggest name out there with major program exp. after finishing 3rd in the sec east a couple times Urban will have his bags packed.... 2012

Prediction 2
CLK-Offence
CMK-Defence
As long as these two coaches are in place TENN will be fine. As I see it CPF's downfall was losing cutcliff. No other OC could come close to calling the game like cutcliff and neither could CFP. Which was the problem once the offence started to fail recruiting started to decline and CFP couldn't make the off better only when cutcliff came back did the vols look like the vols of the manning era

As stated above
CLK calls the Offence
CMK calls the Defence
This sort off downfall will not happen as long as the Kiffen's are on the sidelines

Don't get me wrong I know we need, and I like all our assistants and hope to keep them all as long as possiable, But the kiffen's are the briantrust....As long as we keep them I think The BO future is bright GBO......HERE'S TO THE NEXT DECADE OF DOMINANCE!!!!!!!

In 2006, it was clear that Cutcliffe wanted to return to the head coaching ranks. If he succeeded at UT again, then he'd be a head coach. If he failed, they'd all be gone soon enough. Cutcliffe was a stop-gap solution at best. So my question then for Fulmer was, "You hired Cutcliffe, but who's your NEXT OC?" The scramble and hire of Clawson left many saying, huh? who? The results in the following season were similarly underwhelming.

For a different reason today, I think it's a fair question to ask Lane Kiffin, "Who's your NEXT DC?" How many more years do we realistically expect for Monte will lead the defense? He might want to retire some time.

This is not meant to try and borrow trouble from tomorrow. But I hope there's already some thinking and planning along these lines so that UT isn't totally unprepared when the elder Kiffin moves on.

cgbtn writes:

If Johnson (or anyone else) follows Wilson to LSU, he is crazy. LSU is Wilson's 4th school in 12 months. By the time the 2011 class arrives, he could be anywhere in the country.

murrayvol writes:

Recruiting is a cutthroat business. To expect more is naive.

MoralVictory writes:

Dave,
With your last name maybe you should lead the investigative charge into the "hostess gate" events.. Hooker on Hookers..instant sell.

516milesfromUT writes:

in response to volsfan4ever:

So how many scholarships do we have left?6?

6 general scholarships, + additional "special"

Mr_Brownstone writes:

in response to 1stAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

sure you're speaking for yourself; moron!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to beachvol1:

You know, it is hard enough to get recruits to commit these days and stick with it but it doesn't help with just going public and putting negative thoughts in these 18 yr old kids head...David, you are a good sports writer but please stay away from articles that these kids read via internet that may have an effect on getting them to stay with their committment...my feelings, once a Vol always a Vol...

Kids being recruited by big-time programs have a hundred ways to inform themselves about what is happening at the schools they are considering. Coaching moves and wavering commitments are just part of the landscape of recruiting these days. It hardly matters what Hooker or any other KNS staffer reports about these things if a kid can find out about them any number of other places. In fact, it would look fishy if everybody else is reporting about them but the local media is not.

KiFFiNOMiCS writes:

Kids are sold on a school/program/campus...and of the scheme and role they will play in the program's system. The recruiter is only showing the recruit what he can do and contribute to said program. Assistants come and go...but when a kid commits to a program for the type of Off/Def it runs and will use him in then even if the recruiter jumps ship he can see the bigger scheme of things...which goes beyond the recruiter.

Jeff Luc BTW probably was going to goto FSU anyway if Gran went there or not. His brother played there so it is kind of a legacy thing in that case and Gran coming there made it real easy for him to pull the trigger.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to BERRY_4_HEISMAN:

What is Offence and Defence? Do you really know football? How can you not know how to spell offense and defense? Not once, but twice, so it wasn't just a fluke. Hint: Cick on the Preview Comment button before Posting.

Should he really "Cick" on the Preview Comment button, or should he "Click" on it? Perhaps you should follow your own advice.

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

volsoutlaw writes:

If Coach doesn't clean up his act and get us out of the news for the wrong reasons, no one will be signing with UT, this news is getting old, fast!

ccVOLSdhf writes:

B-low-me-berry.... how's the spelling on that!
Please exscuse my indiscretion. It was 3 am and spelling never has been my strongsuit

I'd hope the point of the post not the spelling of individual words is what you would see.

As for knowing football I've seen every game thats been on tv since Andy Kelly was QB and have the last decade on tape every game as well as the TITANS. While I know 15-16 yrs is far less than some posters. I also know it's plenty time to know a little somthing about football

Next time I'll make sure I CICK the button loser!

GBO...VT chicken bowl recruiting TIME FOR THE BIG FINISH!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

There are 2 big offensive linemen set to visit next week. One at 330 lbs, the other 285. We could sure use these guys!! 6'7 and 6'8.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Sorry, the visits are set up for Jan.!!

volbald writes:

Surely Thompson won't consider leaving for Louisville. Strong won't last - 3 years max. Just like Kelly's going to Notre Dame will end up being a big mistake for him professionally. Going back to your family's home area is one thing - leaving a program you are getting ready for a NC run in the country's top football conference for any assistant's position in the Big East would be foolish. When Strong's honeymoon ends, all his coaches will be looking for work somewhere else - maybe the MAC conference.

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