State's Top 10 prospects: (No. 4) Memphis' Malone cool on praise

Receiver committed to Alabama early, will focus on grades

Keiwone Malone

Keiwone Malone

Keiwone Malone's ego won't likely be affected by his latest accolade.

The 6-foot, 165-pound wide receiver from Memphis Mitchell High School is the News Sentinel's fourth-best college football prospect in the state.

Many athletes would congratulate themselves if they were to receive such recognition.

Mitchell coach Nathan Cole said Malone, who's committed to Alabama, doesn't pay attention to his own press clippings.

"He's just a team player," Cole said. "He's not one of those types of guys that has their head swollen. He's a normal guy."

Malone has also developed into a leader.

Cole said Malone's playful personality off the field has helped him bring his teammates together on it.

"He's a jokester," Cole said. "He makes people comfortable even though he has the status that he does. He doesn't take it for granted."

Cole tries not to take Malone's talent for granted.

Cole pointed to Mitchell's win against Dyersburg in a state quarterfinal game last November.

Malone set a state record for receiving yards in a game with his 358-yard, three-touchdown performance.

"You talk about it being 20-something degrees outside," Cole said. "I was frozen from my ankle to my hip but this kid was catching the ball like it was 95 degrees outside."

Malone decided in February to end his recruitment early and commit to Alabama.

He made the decision nearly a year before National Signing Day to limit his distractions.

"I just wanted to get all the pressure off my back and just focus on all my academics," Malone told the Memphis Commercial Appeal after his commitment.

He has since decided to visit other schools, according to Cole, who said Malone plans to visit Miami and Georgia.

He said Malone has received a scholarship offer from Miami as well as LSU, Ole Miss, North Carolina and Kansas, but not Georgia.

Missing from the offer list is Tennessee.

Cole said UT's coaching staff showed interest early and asked Malone to visit one of Tennessee's camps this summer, but he wasn't able to make the trip.

Cole said he expected UT to show more interest in Malone.

"It really surprised me because Tennessee was one of the schools on his list," Cole said. "It was kind of surprising they weren't more aggressive trying to get him to sign."

Cole believes Malone's best football will come after he signs with Alabama in February.

Cole, referring to Malone's light frame, said a college weight program should help him blossom into a college star.

"The sky's the limit for this kid," Cole said. "The knowledge for football is already there. Once they put what he needs on him, he's one of these types of kids that's going to play (in the NFL) on Sundays."

Josh Ward is a freelance contributor.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 58

2407westTN_VOLSfan writes:

Where is the fence around Memphis? Does this guy not fit the program? I hate to see him go to Bamer! Well I guess we can't get them all! GO VOLS!

GAVol21 writes:

I wouldn't recruit him either if he committed to Bummer a year ahead of time. Even when he wanted to look around, he couldn't make the trip across God's country to attend a camp.

Something is screwed up in Memphis. Why would a TN kid commit to the Tide? Ever? Explains why we never considered them part of the state anyway. Too bad, may actually be some talent there...

Go Vols!

GAVol21 writes:

in response to bamacheats:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

agohn writes:

It would be great if Arkansas would just add Memphis to their state border. What a craphole.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

I hate to criticize the author of a story, but "Cole" begins at least 7 sentences in this article. It's a bit redundant. Thanks for the article though Josh.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to 2407westTN_VOLSfan:

Where is the fence around Memphis? Does this guy not fit the program? I hate to see him go to Bamer! Well I guess we can't get them all! GO VOLS!

There weren't enough materials to enclose Shelby County. They're considered a part of Arkansas now.

901volfan writes:

in response to agohn:

It would be great if Arkansas would just add Memphis to their state border. What a craphole.

memphis isn't a craphole its the most talented part of the state maybe if the football staff recruited the city instead of blowing it off they could get some real in state talent

Slystone writes:

Bottom line is Kiffin nor Pearl have yet to covet the prize recruits out of Memphis.

voloffaith writes:

wow we make fun of his name and trash his home city and wonder why the Vols are not thot of nicely in Memphis area.

On topic, we know Coach K is looking for that large frame receiver with speed as I recall. Have a great day ya'll.

bigaldaddy writes:

in response to 2407westTN_VOLSfan:

Where is the fence around Memphis? Does this guy not fit the program? I hate to see him go to Bamer! Well I guess we can't get them all! GO VOLS!

O Linemen. That is a championship football team. Wide Receivers are everywhere but the 310 pound grader is as rare as my ribeye.

Mommasboy writes:

in response to bigaldaddy:

O Linemen. That is a championship football team. Wide Receivers are everywhere but the 310 pound grader is as rare as my ribeye.

I agree...unfortuntely, we have 3 signed. None of which are top 50 players. Maybe Jose Jose will have a big impact. Hopefully, once we get a qb commitment, the flood gates will open. Where are the 4 and 5 star o-line recruits? Not to beat a dead horse, but what are your thoughts on Scroggins?

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to Jovi:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow! That type of commentary is sure to change some people's minds about us! They'll come running to the Vols in bunches after reading this.

Methinks perhaps you should go back to bed for awhile.

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

old_number1 writes:

in response to bigaldaddy:

O Linemen. That is a championship football team. Wide Receivers are everywhere but the 310 pound grader is as rare as my ribeye.

Big, you are on the money. Look back on the best years of UT football. We allways had th o-line and a dependable running game. No running game, no top ten team. A great example is the Ark. gam in '98. We get the ball on the Stoner fumble, then RUN the ball into the endzone with seconds to spare!

For all you that think UT should get every quality player, IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!! Don't loose site of the fact that this is the best recruiting staff ever put together on one team. Every coach on this team is an allstar in recruiting. They are young and aggressive, and they will get the players they want. They are a lot smarter than us 'couch coaches'.

Also, remember last recruiting class. It's not over 'til it's over. Remember B. Brown, Jackson, Oku, and others. Verbals at this tme mean nothing. THESE COACHES CAN RECRUIT!! We went from a 21 rank to a top 10 rank at the end of the recruiting period.

Has anyone thought about this. Kiff and co. want to see what these guys do their senior year. Have a great year, you'll have a UT coach on your doorstep. Stink it up, and you're at the back of the line.

VolGraduate writes:

I'm embarrassed to be a UT fan after reading these comments. Why the hatred towarda Memphis??????

volzcrushm writes:

SOUNDS LIKE THIS GUY COMMITTED EARLY BEFORE GIVING CLK A CHANCE. CLK CHANGED SOME MINDS AT THE LAST MINUTE OF RECRUITING LAST YEAR........ YOU GUYS NEED TO STAY POSITIVE AND GIVE CLK SOME ROOM TO WORK. BE PATIENT AND QUIT TRASHING MEMPHIS... THAT JUST PUSHES THEM AWAY.

volzcrushm writes:

ALL OF THESE HARSH REMARKS TOWARD MEMPHIS HAS TO BE COMMING FROM THE INTERLOPERS. TOO BAD THIS SITE CAN'T FILTER THESE IDIOTS.

give_him_6 writes:

in response to old_number1:

Big, you are on the money. Look back on the best years of UT football. We allways had th o-line and a dependable running game. No running game, no top ten team. A great example is the Ark. gam in '98. We get the ball on the Stoner fumble, then RUN the ball into the endzone with seconds to spare!

For all you that think UT should get every quality player, IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!! Don't loose site of the fact that this is the best recruiting staff ever put together on one team. Every coach on this team is an allstar in recruiting. They are young and aggressive, and they will get the players they want. They are a lot smarter than us 'couch coaches'.

Also, remember last recruiting class. It's not over 'til it's over. Remember B. Brown, Jackson, Oku, and others. Verbals at this tme mean nothing. THESE COACHES CAN RECRUIT!! We went from a 21 rank to a top 10 rank at the end of the recruiting period.

Has anyone thought about this. Kiff and co. want to see what these guys do their senior year. Have a great year, you'll have a UT coach on your doorstep. Stink it up, and you're at the back of the line.

Somewhat true. I wold gladly trade a #1 ranking in the recruiting class wars, based on all skill players, for a 8-15 but with a lot of really good O-Linemen and some good D-Linemen mixed in. For that is where the games are won and lost, in the trenches. Anyone think that maybe we're not getting the QB recruits because we don't enough big boys to protect them? The thought crossed my mind. Let me put it into butchers terminology: You go and get the Beef and the Steak will soon follow!!!

Go Vols!!!

old_number1 writes:

in response to give_him_6:

Somewhat true. I wold gladly trade a #1 ranking in the recruiting class wars, based on all skill players, for a 8-15 but with a lot of really good O-Linemen and some good D-Linemen mixed in. For that is where the games are won and lost, in the trenches. Anyone think that maybe we're not getting the QB recruits because we don't enough big boys to protect them? The thought crossed my mind. Let me put it into butchers terminology: You go and get the Beef and the Steak will soon follow!!!

Go Vols!!!

You may be right. But which came first, the chicken or the egg? That's why I say, let the coaches do their jobs. If We build it, they will come!!

lildhoss76ut#638162 writes:

Bama has a better benefit plan. you can make a ton of money off text books.lol

ColeTrickle writes:

this kid is a shrimp. we need tall recievers not guys that 5'11 or 6 feet tall. I am sure if he was all about UT and showed interest we would have maybe offered him, but obviously he wants to play on a cheating program, so let him go. maybe probation is all he knows....who cares?

ColeTrickle writes:

Kiffin wants tall receivers not short ones (Nuke is the exception becuase how dynamic he is) who cares about this kid? Obviously KNS likes to point out that we dont have any commitments from their top 10 list of in-state prospects, so far, Where is Jaques Smith on their list???

crappieking writes:

in response to Jovi:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are pathetic. Memphis is a part of the state moron. In reality, they have overall better high school prospects than most other parts of the state. CBP and CLK should be recruiting that area hard. Hopefully these kids won't read your BS drivel. Go take your meds, or better yet slice your wrist. You're no Vol fan you classless idiot.

bison_vol writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

just a thought guys. Draw a 400 mile perimeter around knoxville, look at the states involved, and ask your self if we capture the best recruits from those areas. Then draw a 400 mile perimeter around Memphis and look at this kids options. Get my drift?

PaulTheVol writes:

There is a reason why I went to a pay site rather than continue here and the comments about Memphis confirm my decision. No interlopers and fewer morons. Comments like that will get you banned on the pay site - thank God.

TDTN writes:

in response to old_number1:

Big, you are on the money. Look back on the best years of UT football. We allways had th o-line and a dependable running game. No running game, no top ten team. A great example is the Ark. gam in '98. We get the ball on the Stoner fumble, then RUN the ball into the endzone with seconds to spare!

For all you that think UT should get every quality player, IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!! Don't loose site of the fact that this is the best recruiting staff ever put together on one team. Every coach on this team is an allstar in recruiting. They are young and aggressive, and they will get the players they want. They are a lot smarter than us 'couch coaches'.

Also, remember last recruiting class. It's not over 'til it's over. Remember B. Brown, Jackson, Oku, and others. Verbals at this tme mean nothing. THESE COACHES CAN RECRUIT!! We went from a 21 rank to a top 10 rank at the end of the recruiting period.

Has anyone thought about this. Kiff and co. want to see what these guys do their senior year. Have a great year, you'll have a UT coach on your doorstep. Stink it up, and you're at the back of the line.

I will never forget the 98 Arkansas game. I hear too often that we won due to Ark QB blunder. Correct me if I am wrong but didnt one of our D-lineman drive the O-tackle into the backfield which is why the QB tripped in the first place. We won the line of scrimmage that play and then our O line pounded them relentlessly for Travis Henry to drive down the field. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. We will be at that level again and soon!

I also think that is the year that Jamal Lewis was hurt and our backup RB stepped up. What a difference an outstanding offensive line can make.

tdforvols writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Great post JB - Well said.

old_number1 writes:

in response to TDTN:

I will never forget the 98 Arkansas game. I hear too often that we won due to Ark QB blunder. Correct me if I am wrong but didnt one of our D-lineman drive the O-tackle into the backfield which is why the QB tripped in the first place. We won the line of scrimmage that play and then our O line pounded them relentlessly for Travis Henry to drive down the field. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. We will be at that level again and soon!

I also think that is the year that Jamal Lewis was hurt and our backup RB stepped up. What a difference an outstanding offensive line can make.

Preach on brother, I'm with ya!! You're right about 'the fumble'. Defensive line caused it, the o-line finished it off!!

IMO, even with no fumble, we get the ball back on a punt, and still score to win. The'luck' of the fumble was way overrated.

chargervol writes:

in response to TDTN:

I will never forget the 98 Arkansas game. I hear too often that we won due to Ark QB blunder. Correct me if I am wrong but didnt one of our D-lineman drive the O-tackle into the backfield which is why the QB tripped in the first place. We won the line of scrimmage that play and then our O line pounded them relentlessly for Travis Henry to drive down the field. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. We will be at that level again and soon!

I also think that is the year that Jamal Lewis was hurt and our backup RB stepped up. What a difference an outstanding offensive line can make.

That game was awesome. It got better as it went along. The rain had soaked everyone. I had an hour ride home, took a shower, and still couldn't believe we actually pulled that game out. Well worth the soaking. That fumble will be talked about for a long time. Don't forget the Syracuse game that year. McNabb and Harrison were quite a tandem. That game never gets mentioned, but that was probably the hardest game for our defense. Like Al Wilson says, after running after McNabb the first few plays, they knew he was the real deal. The Vols trenches were alot better and deeper back in those days. We need some big ol' boys this year in the worse kinda way. GO VOLS!!!

MountJulietVol writes:

While Memphis is in the state of TN, it is a lot closer to other D1 schools...and the way Memphis is trashed on this site, it is no wonder these kids want to go somewhere else.I certainly understand that we can't get every kid that we want, but when a kid commits somewhere else he is called stupid or a moron on this site. Why can't we wish these kids the best of luck and be happy with what we bring in. We may not always bring in a #1 class, but we are suppose to have coaches that can make these kids better...and we can still be proud of our program.Just a thought.

qspr91iz writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I coached against Albert Means and he did not attend Mitchell. He played for Trezevant High.
GO VOLS!!!!

huntined#565710 writes:

Not many kids are getting d-1 offers from the State of Tennessee. As high school ball is not as good as many other states like Texas,CA,GA,FLA. It will be interesting to see if even these top ten get into a d-1 school. All of them should but not a lot of interest in the state and that is why Tenn must recruit all over.

govols22231 writes:

Memphis has many alumni bases. Ole Miss, just 50 minutes down the road has a very passionate fan base. Mississippi State, just 3 hours away is the same way and Bama is just 4 hours away. Kids from Memphis go all over the south. ( 2 kids this last year went to Georgia). There have been many great Tennessee Vols from the Memphis area over the years. We just can't get them all. We will get our share over time but there is just alot to overcome to get them all. LSU has even grabbed a few from Memphis the last several years. Arkansas will even dip into Memphis once and a while. Memphis is a fertile recruiting ground for many schools in both football and basketball. Plus you have Memphis State right in the heart of town. So...bottom line is you have alot of recruiting battles right here in the Bluff City which have been fierce and Memphis is sort of a crossroads for recruiting in the South.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to KingsportVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL! Dupree said to put a little of Dr. Pendyke's Miracle Salve on it. He said that stuff cures the mange... it ought to knock out the crabs too.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to Slystone:

Bottom line is Kiffin nor Pearl have yet to covet the prize recruits out of Memphis.

I would be shocked if he stayed at WR, he is 6' which probably means 5'10"-11" and 165 so if he adds the weight it will be hard to maintain the speed. I would be shocked if Satan doesn't have him tabbed as a db which he coaches.
He would seem to me to fit more in the Gay-tors offense than any other in the SEC. Just my opinion but I will trust in the Kiff!!!
GO VOLS
READY FOR FOOTBALL SEASON

gohawks1 writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I have some in-laws in Memphis, so I've spent a lot of time there over the years too. I'd like to point out that the negative attitude and hatred is not a one way street. I'm always the target for teasing and riducule when I am there. Most of it is just good natured fun, but I've seen the ugly side too. I was at the Memphis game back in the nineties when Memphis beat UT, and when leaving the stadium, I wasn't sure I was going to escape without a brawl. Vols fans were hollered at, cursed, and threatened all the way to the car. There exists a bitter rivalry that has nothing to do with a few comments made on an on-line site.

On the positive side, there were some Vols from Memphis during the Fulmer era. I remember Cedric Wilson for one. Can anyone name some others for us?

gohawks1 writes:

R-I-D-I-C-U-L-E. Thought I'd make that correction before the grammar police read my last post and start hollering CITIZEN'S ARREST.

GAVol21 writes:

I don't hate Memphis. TN is TN From the Mississippi to the Appalachians and all in between. However, I need help understanding a few things.

I agree that the state in general is not a hot bed for recruiting in general. For people who love College football as much as we do, why are our HS programs not better? or are they and they just don't get the attention? However, you would think that this staff could better determine abilities through camps and evaluations. Does not many offers mean not much talent in comparison? Would you offer a kid who does bleed Orange just bc he went to HS in TN? I wouldn't.

Regarding Memphis recruits - Am I the only one who thinks there are issues on the Memphis end? Just look at Malone and Brunetti alone. Malone commits to AL a year early. He is asked to attend a camp and doesn't. Would a kid from Middle or East TN do that? He didn't give the staff a chance and he may not be what they are looking for. Then Brunetti, it seemed he was high on TN, wanted an offer, then as soon as he got it went to WV.

Does football work differently there? Do the majority of folks there bleed Orange? I think the success of the basketball program has had some impact.

Go Vols!

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to voloffaith:

wow we make fun of his name and trash his home city and wonder why the Vols are not thot of nicely in Memphis area.

On topic, we know Coach K is looking for that large frame receiver with speed as I recall. Have a great day ya'll.

Also looking for a top rated pro style (or not top rated) QB to fit his FIRST college system. Go Vols

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to old_number1:

Big, you are on the money. Look back on the best years of UT football. We allways had th o-line and a dependable running game. No running game, no top ten team. A great example is the Ark. gam in '98. We get the ball on the Stoner fumble, then RUN the ball into the endzone with seconds to spare!

For all you that think UT should get every quality player, IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!! Don't loose site of the fact that this is the best recruiting staff ever put together on one team. Every coach on this team is an allstar in recruiting. They are young and aggressive, and they will get the players they want. They are a lot smarter than us 'couch coaches'.

Also, remember last recruiting class. It's not over 'til it's over. Remember B. Brown, Jackson, Oku, and others. Verbals at this tme mean nothing. THESE COACHES CAN RECRUIT!! We went from a 21 rank to a top 10 rank at the end of the recruiting period.

Has anyone thought about this. Kiff and co. want to see what these guys do their senior year. Have a great year, you'll have a UT coach on your doorstep. Stink it up, and you're at the back of the line.

Are you saying they really did not want a verbal commit from a highly rated pro style QB? They are just waiting to after the Fall? Not many of us believe that.

Slystone writes:

in response to VolGraduate:

I'm embarrassed to be a UT fan after reading these comments. Why the hatred towarda Memphis??????

It's and East -v- West, Black -v- White thing. It's divided along cultural, racial and competitive lines. I lived in both segments of the State for well over a decade in each so I can say I experienced what each region is about. Middle Tenn is the one area I never lived in. For decades folk wondered why UT could never get your top athlete in Memphis to come to UT. Reading some of these post I can see why.

chargervol writes:

Not jealous of your probationary time. GO VOLS!!!

chargervol writes:

Not jealous of your facilities, either. GO VOLS!!!

UrbanCryer writes:

in response to RollTideRoll987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

im rubber, your glue... blah, blah, blah

UrbanCryer writes:

bipolar where did you live, the hood? ive lived in memphis for 30 years and have never had anything stolen from me, just lucky i guess. as far as the memphis kids go there are no ties to ut cause fulmer never cared about memphis. now its going to take some time to build those relationships. plus kiff didnt offer this kid so how could he sign. i dont think he wanted another 5-10 WR after getting richardson and teague. btw im glad there is no crime in knoxville where my car got broken into while staying overnight for a ut game.

gohawks1 writes:

I'm from neither Memphis nor Knoxville, but have spent much time in both. As I stated earlier, the trashing between Memphis and Knoxville is a two way street, started long before Internet blogging became popular. As a non-biased observer, I must say that the abuse is much worse coming from the Memphis camp.

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

in response to KingsportVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

just take a dip in the Pigeon River around Newport, if it will kill ticks it will get rid of your bugs too!

highVOLtage writes:

in response to GAVol21:

I wouldn't recruit him either if he committed to Bummer a year ahead of time. Even when he wanted to look around, he couldn't make the trip across God's country to attend a camp.

Something is screwed up in Memphis. Why would a TN kid commit to the Tide? Ever? Explains why we never considered them part of the state anyway. Too bad, may actually be some talent there...

Go Vols!

"I wouldn't recruit him either if he committed to Bummer a year ahead of time. Even when he wanted to look around, he couldn't make the trip across God's country to attend a camp."

Exactly. Clearly a lost cause at this point.

bluetick writes:

"Building a fence around the state of TN" does not mean Kiffin is going to be recruting EVERY KID that plays football in the State. Doesn't matter also if they are in the top 10. If the do not fit the mold of what is being looked for at UT then they won't recruit them. So, what? Take the top 10 recruits in the state of Tn and then find 10-15 more in the other 49? Be real. I don't know EXACTLY what Kiffin and crew mean by 'building a fence around the state of TN', but I would think it would mean keeping the BEST recruits that FIT THE MOLD of what the coaching staff is looking for rather than just having UTK made up of football players from TN. Make sense? Thought so.

Ringleader writes:

in response to VolGraduate:

I'm embarrassed to be a UT fan after reading these comments. Why the hatred towarda Memphis??????

Alabama used to treat Mobile the same way. Thought of it as being a portion of Florida. Then Scott Hunter settled in down there and they started to take a better look. But, LSU has really pulled them out lately. You do recall where T Martin came from. Until UT really tries to recruit Memphis, you can look for Alabama, Ole Miss, and Arkansas to continue to loot the talent. Also, Coach O does not sit well with the locals there.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features