Adams: Juco QB is welcome, but not in SEC

John Adams

Tennessee's search for its future quarterback so far has been marked by surprises rather than success.

Thursday's surprise arrived via the Mt. San Antonio Community College Web site, which announced that quarterback Nick Lamaison had signed with the UT. Lamaison can play this season and will have three years of college eligibility.

Almost as surprising as the announcement itself was the response. UT didn't confirm the signing. And Lamaison would neither confirm nor deny the report in an interview with the News Sentinel. By late afternoon, the announcement had been removed from the school's Web site.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume the lack of confirmation is a mere technicality, attributable to something as simple and prevalent as recruiting paranoia, which often reaches the frantic level when quarterbacks are involved.

Even if the announcement had been confirmed, endorsed and praised by the involved parties, you might be reluctant to embrace the idea of a juco quarterback making meaningful contributions to an SEC offense. I respect your hesitation.

Since the league went to divisional play in 1992, name all the junior college transfers who have distinguished themselves as first-team All-SEC quarterbacks.

Then, on the still blank sheet of paper, write the names of junior college quarterbacks who have started for an SEC school since 1992. A couple of examples come quickly to mind. I'll give you a hint: Both of their coaches were fired.

Last year, junior college transfer Chris Todd, who originally signed with Texas Tech, was named Auburn's starting quarterback - for a while. Maybe if Todd's injured shoulder had healed faster, he would have held the starting position for an entire season. And maybe his offensive coordinator wouldn't have been fired by mid-season. And maybe his head coach wouldn't have been fired by the end of the season.

Before Todd, there was Brent Schaeffer at Ole Miss. Schaeffer was good enough to start at quarterback for UT as a true freshman. After establishing himself as a two-sport athlete (if you count the off-the-field incident involving a baseball bat), Schaeffer was encouraged to continue his college education elsewhere. Following a junior college stopover at the College of the Sequoias, Schaeffer transferred to Ole Miss, where Ed Orgeron, who is now UT's assistant head coach, immediately installed him as his starting quarterback.

That didn't work out famously for Schaeffer or Orgeron.

Recent SEC history aside, Lamaison could still fill a need for the Vols. They wouldn't ask him to be the next Peyton Manning. They need another warm body behind Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens, just in case. Remember the 2004 season when UT lost two quarterbacks to injury? Remember this spring when the offensive line wilted under the heat of their teammates' pass rush?

Although there's little traffic on the quarterback bridge from junior college to the SEC, Lamaison's signing isn't the biggest surprise of UT's search. It's not even runnerup.

First surprise: UT first-year coach Lane Kiffin told high school All-American quarterback Tajh Boyd, who had committed to the former staff, that Kiffin's offense wouldn't suit him. So advised, Boyd eventually signed with Clemson.

What's more surprising than a coach being so candid with a recruit?

I'm also mystified by the recruitment of California quarterback Jesse Scroggins, who has said he will announce his decision later this month after narrowing his choices to UT, Southern California and Florida. Speculation favors USC, which isn't that far from Scroggins' home and has become a virtual NFL farm team for quarterbacks.

But if you want to play early in your college career - and most recruits do - why would you pick USC over UT?

If Scroggins is as good as recruiters think, he could start at UT as a freshman. Even if he is that good, he could be fourth string as a freshman on a USC depth chart that is already three-deep in former high school All-American quarterbacks, including precocious true freshman Matt Barkley.

Sure, USC is a great place for a quarterback if he wants to become NFL-ready. It's also a great place for a quarterback to improve his dexterity with a clipboard.

Maybe Scroggins is so confident (or irrational enough) to believe he can beat out the talented competition ahead of him, even through it has a head start. Or maybe, there's another surprise in store for UT's quarterback hunt.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 72

HallowedHill writes:

Why all the secrecy? Get the kid on campus so he can start throwing.

golfballs03 writes:

Ooooohhh!

matrosscbc writes:

The real question is.....How many SEC Quarterbacks do we have in the league or have had in the past that could even put of Lamaison numbers in JUCO....I can name several we have had as starters that couldn't...watch the clips John...the kid can play.

matrosscbc writes:

put "up" Lamaison numbers...sorry

RockinTop writes:

Again I say....Scroggins going to USC doesnt make sense....his dad influencing him to go there doesnt make sense either, Alumn or not....so, agreed JA....I hope there is a big surprise coming for the VOLS....one thing for sure....either way, it will be a surprise....

Go Big Orange!

tdforvols writes:

No need to panic. Lamaison would be a good 3rd string option for this year and we have until spring next year to sign someone for 2010.

OrangePride writes:

Precisely the point, JA. If you want to play, you come to Tennessee. If you just want to be one of many on the sidelines, you go to USC. That said, however, in my observation of young prospects over the years, all too often the decision is made on an emotional basis and not a rational analysis of the facts. Things like, they thought the coach was great, or another player they know signed with that team, or they want to be close to home, or any of a bunch of other reasons populate the decision-making process. So, as much as Tennessee seems a great option for Scroggins, I am not yet convinced he is going to make his choice based on where he has the best opportunity to show his skills on the field. But hope springs eternal and Kiffin is a good spokesperson for the Orange! Go Vols.

99gator writes:

wasn't it adams who only a few days ago wrote something along the lines of not worrying about tennessee's search for a qb.

only a few days later, he writes an article that essentially worrying about tennessee's search for a qb.

which one is it?

chiefofstaff writes:

Every article about the Scroggins kid state that he's narrowed his choices down to three schools. The factors associated with picking UT or USC are well documented. Not much discussion about that "championship factory" (I hate to say) to our south. Is there any reason to believe he won't cross-up all the predictions and go to Gainsville? Just sayin. BTW, how are they set at QB beyond 2009? GO VOLS!!

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

With the history of the USC quarterbacks, this has to be a tough decision for Scroggins. The last 3 out of 4 QB's for USC (Palmer, Leinart, Sanchez)(not Booty) have been first round picks in the NFL. But there is no guarantee that he will see the field. Take Mitch Mustain, a 5 start QB coming out of high school and it sounds like he can't even get the time of day there. However, if he chooses UT; he would be almost a lock to start as a freshman. It boils down to two things. Does he want to carry a clipboard for at least two years and then have a small window of opportunity for USC to start; or does he want to come to UT and immediately have "Rock Star" status. I think we will learn alot about Mr. Scroggins by the choice he makes.

99gator writes:

another thing......

stop pretending to know what's best for scroggins.

none of us know the kid.

maybe he wouldn't be ready to play immediately. maybe he will need to ride the bench. maybe he needs to stay close to home and be in comfortable surroundings. maybe playing for the best program in america and being surrounded by all that talent is the best path to the nfl, despite how long it may take to play.

maybe getting as far away as possible from home would be good for him. maybe, he's ready for primetime immediately. maybe, the lifestyle of knoxville would suit him better as an 18 year old kid than the bright lights of hollywood.

i don't know.

all i know is that choosing to attend USC or tennessee or a host of other schools all would make sense to me.

Realist writes:

Lamaison will not announce until after July 25th. Scroggins can still change his mind. In case he has picked UT, we would not want him to start rethinking his decision!

JLeon04 writes:

Argh, I know Kiffin wants to win with his own guy at QB and not Fulmer's(Boyd), but Boyd would be nice to have right about now. Boyd could have also helped us land 6'5" WR Marlon Brown(UGA) this past recruiting class, or at least Patrick Patterson(Ole Miss). I sure hope QBs of 2011 class is a lot deeper!

wtvol writes:

Evidently, Mr Adams has forgotten last year's Tenn-UCLA game where "Former Mt. SAC Quarterback, Kevin Craft, Leads UCLA To Upset Victory Over 18th Ranked Tennessee" as stated at http://athletics.mtsac.edu/teams/foot...

Welcome Mr Lamaison and Go Vols.

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

I think we will learn alot about Scroggins based on the decision he makes. If he feels like he is ready to start next year; he needs to come to the Vols. If he feels like he needs to sit and wait and watch for a few years; he goes to USC. I pray that he is ready to start for the Vols. We need him to run through that T!

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to JLeon04:

Argh, I know Kiffin wants to win with his own guy at QB and not Fulmer's(Boyd), but Boyd would be nice to have right about now. Boyd could have also helped us land 6'5" WR Marlon Brown(UGA) this past recruiting class, or at least Patrick Patterson(Ole Miss). I sure hope QBs of 2011 class is a lot deeper!

I tend to agree with you. Regardless of LK reasons for not signing Boyd, in my opinion it was the coach's first mistake. Go Vols

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

I think we will learn alot about Scroggins here in a few days based on the decision he makes. If he feels like he is a leader and ready to start next year for a major college program, then he comes to the Vols. If he needs the security of watching and waiting and learning for two years, then he goes to Southern Cal. I hope that he feels like he is ready to start. We need him and I would love to see him run through that T with 106,000 thousand fans cheering him on.

BleedOrange writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BleedOrange writes:

Need to try and at least understand the reasons that he didn't "sign". He cannot officially sign. He will just show up on campus in another couple of weeks.

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

in response to 99gator:

another thing......

stop pretending to know what's best for scroggins.

none of us know the kid.

maybe he wouldn't be ready to play immediately. maybe he will need to ride the bench. maybe he needs to stay close to home and be in comfortable surroundings. maybe playing for the best program in america and being surrounded by all that talent is the best path to the nfl, despite how long it may take to play.

maybe getting as far away as possible from home would be good for him. maybe, he's ready for primetime immediately. maybe, the lifestyle of knoxville would suit him better as an 18 year old kid than the bright lights of hollywood.

i don't know.

all i know is that choosing to attend USC or tennessee or a host of other schools all would make sense to me.

We don't know what is best for Scroggins but I sure would love to see him run through that BIG T in front of 106,000 screaming fans!

golfballs03 writes:

I don't think Lamaison is going to scare Scroggins away

chad_t31 writes:

A JUCO qb may not be the best answer for us BUT..we've had some high ranked qbs come here and do nothing. Not pointing fingers or throwing anyone under the bus because each situation has it's own set of circumstances of why they haven't panned out. So don't be too quick to say this route won't work for us.

99gator...I agree with your question or point about the 2 different angles JA has taken concerning the qb situation. Guess he's trying to pacify all involved. Who knows.

Orangeblood13 writes:

Ah the ever optimistic Adams

Thanks for your positive spin....

give_him_6 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're right Doc. Adams has always been a little questionable. He seems to play both ends against the middle quite a bit. Me thinks he know too much and is manipulating the system. The slippery s o b !!!! We better watch him closely.

bluetick writes:

Lamaison will sign with UT, and who is to say he won't win the starting job outright? He does have some good statistics though it be in a JUCO league. According to someone on here marc_ash I believe said that Scroggins is afraid to be put on the spot at UT and start early on...too much pressure or something. Also that Pete at USC was planning to use him and Barkley in some fashion, which I seem to believe also only because this guy has most always had good information.

Also, even the back up players get NC rings if they win. I think UT will be there soon enough or in the mix but USC is already in the mix. Who knows what dude is thinking. I just hope we have someone who can come in and learn and take charge of the team and lead us to victories. Don't care what their name is or how many stars they have to be honest.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

The Tajh Boyd decision will bite Kiffin in the behind this year. That was pure hubris on Kiffin's behalf. Given the unhealthy state of our recieving corp a schlorship offer to Scoggins cousin does'nt seem like a bad option to think about. I'd do it in an heartbeat.bonzaivol

Fossilfiction writes:

in response to robvols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are you guys still on this "The Elite" junk?! Pay for advertising and knock it off. Talk football or walk!
When you guys first started it I thought it was just for kicks.
"The Elite"? You guys are using a freak'n gmail account for email! Elite my tail!
I will not try to block every single "Troll"because truth be told they make alittle more interesting around this site. Freedom of speech is a basic concept. Those who post here, like it here. So fork out some change for a domain based email account, pay for ads so you don't spam our public site, and get over other people not agreeing with everything you think they should.
Otherwise we need to start spaming you and anyone who actually spams.
To those who ride the azz of those who like to post first..... get over it. If they want to waste a post playing a none spamming game then let them. "The Elite"...... Pssstttt...

thevoice writes:

What's more important to a kid? Playing immediately or making millions in the NFL?

colt writes:

Lets all settle down. This is our coaches problem. In the end he will work it out and c0me up with a good Q B.

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

I wonder why everyone is talking about Scroggins going to Tennessee or USC and not so much as a mention about FL. Not even the gator faithful on this site has said as much, yet they are still listed by him as a finalist.

I'm just say in.

GO VOLS11111111111111111111111111111111

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to chiefofstaff:

Every article about the Scroggins kid state that he's narrowed his choices down to three schools. The factors associated with picking UT or USC are well documented. Not much discussion about that "championship factory" (I hate to say) to our south. Is there any reason to believe he won't cross-up all the predictions and go to Gainsville? Just sayin. BTW, how are they set at QB beyond 2009? GO VOLS!!

That is a really good point.

td10usee writes:

Here is something to consider about Lamaison. Is the competition he faced at JUCO better than a high school senior plays against? If one excels in JUCO, is it better than excelling against high school kids? Any prospect regardless of high school records is an unknown quantity until they play. So is a JUCO prospect to some degree. My thoughts are that I had rather have him on our roster than not. He does not count against our 2010 schollies and who knows, he may be very successful. Give him a shot. If he is All SEC--great. If he is not, we will get someone else to play QB.

td10usee writes:

Another point. I believe we get too hung up on how many stars a kid has, what the trolls say in this forum to get us all riled up and what a hack like John Adams thinks. Ultimately the coaching staff is responsible for building the team and like it or not we have to rely on them to do it. Neither Rome nor UT football was built in a day, but I believe this staff will greatly improve us over the past few years. IMHO.

JCforUTVols writes:

in response to mbradshaw1#655539:

I wonder why everyone is talking about Scroggins going to Tennessee or USC and not so much as a mention about FL. Not even the gator faithful on this site has said as much, yet they are still listed by him as a finalist.

I'm just say in.

GO VOLS11111111111111111111111111111111

My thougts exactly, thanks MB

vol2211insc writes:

Even if I put my Volunteer fan mindset away for a second I still think that Scroggins should sign with UT. Adams is right, Pete Carrol isn't going to have alot of moving around on that QB Depth chart. Also I don't think he'll be able to come in and just tear it up and 'make' the coaches start him. He would be at best starting by his third year. Florida already has a guy they are big on after Tebow. When you look at Tennessee's Depth, there is none. You would only have to beat out Nick Stephens. Even if he wouldn't be able to he would be 2nd on the depth chart as a true freshman. You can't beat that. As far as offense he probably suits Tennessee's or SC's best. Floridas is way too spread oriented. Hopefully he'll make a the trip east to Knoxville.

GAVol21 writes:

I've got an idea... How about somebody interview the coach and ask him specific questions about recruiting a QB? I believe we are sticking to the plan. This staff does not want to offer just to fill a roster spot.

- Scroggins - Could end up starting for 2 years or more without beating out Barkley at USC. Even if Barkley RS this year, he could start for 3 years (or 2) then go to NFL, that would leave opportunity for JS to RS and then start for two years. Plenty of time to impress the NFL.
- Rettig and Brunetti - I think we offered a little late bc we weren't sure about their abilities. They went to more camps and got stronger. Although both showed strong interest initially, they were not happy we didn't put them at the top of the list right away.

If we don't get Scroggins, we may not sign a QB until after this fall. These kids are still growing and developing. Summer is boring and I'm counting down the days. This soap opera just helps pass the time of day until then.

Bottom line is I think we will be fine this year with 3 QBs (assuming we sign at least 1 JC). I believe last year's offense did not allow the QB to do well. You can't come out and try to throw down field in triple coverage every passing play. Throw a screen, quick out or anything short. Whoever starts this year will not put up big numbers, but will run the offense with few mistakes.

gbeejr#1354500 writes:

in response to teampenny#658108:

I tend to agree with you. Regardless of LK reasons for not signing Boyd, in my opinion it was the coach's first mistake. Go Vols

What a confusing statement. You say Boyd would have helped us get Brown and Patterson? How do you know that?? I live in Mississippi and it was rumored all along that he was staying in state. And furthermore, if Boyd was such a magnet for these two receivers then how come they didn't follow him to Clemson?

govols082859#1369959 writes:

in response to 99gator:

wasn't it adams who only a few days ago wrote something along the lines of not worrying about tennessee's search for a qb.

only a few days later, he writes an article that essentially worrying about tennessee's search for a qb.

which one is it?

Neither one 99gator.
It's just that John Adams couldn't resist the urge to make the kid wonder if he was making hte right decision. With the way he has sharpened his skills, JA could probably talk Peyton, Tee, or Shuler out of coming to Tennessee.

lomas98 writes:

in response to mbradshaw1#655539:

I wonder why everyone is talking about Scroggins going to Tennessee or USC and not so much as a mention about FL. Not even the gator faithful on this site has said as much, yet they are still listed by him as a finalist.

I'm just say in.

GO VOLS11111111111111111111111111111111

Because the Gator faithful don't actually need this kid, it would just be an added bonus for them.

bigorange61 writes:

Let me see if I follow the author's logic. A quarterback that puts up good numbers in high school is welcome in the SEC. A quarterback that puts up good numbers in high school and junior college is not welcome.

Must say I disagree with that logic (or lack of).

cc623 writes:

in response to JLeon04:

Argh, I know Kiffin wants to win with his own guy at QB and not Fulmer's(Boyd), but Boyd would be nice to have right about now. Boyd could have also helped us land 6'5" WR Marlon Brown(UGA) this past recruiting class, or at least Patrick Patterson(Ole Miss). I sure hope QBs of 2011 class is a lot deeper!

Where exactly is Boyd on Clemson's list of proposed starters?Answer nowhere he is INJURED(Sustained torn ACL which will require surgery)and WILL NOT PLAY THIS SEASON...

Next reason for booting Boyd:Considering CLK has in mind what fits the system and columnists and keyboard warriors do not i'm sure he saw all he needed to make a decision for the betterment of Tennessee.

BigOrangeVol writes:

Adams is just another Climer without the hair-lip and cheesy mustache.

Volunatic writes:

in response to FARRAGUT0406:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think Realist is saying that Lamaison doesn't want to come to Tennessee if Scroggins does, not the other way around.

Volunatic writes:

in response to TCHDWN10C:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tajh Boyd also needed knee surgery (ACL) right after he signed with Clemson.

Volunatic writes:

in response to mbradshaw1#655539:

I wonder why everyone is talking about Scroggins going to Tennessee or USC and not so much as a mention about FL. Not even the gator faithful on this site has said as much, yet they are still listed by him as a finalist.

I'm just say in.

GO VOLS11111111111111111111111111111111

uf is recruiting Scroggins to keep him away from Tennessee. I think they would try to make him switch to WR.

Volunatic writes:

in response to GAVol21:

I've got an idea... How about somebody interview the coach and ask him specific questions about recruiting a QB? I believe we are sticking to the plan. This staff does not want to offer just to fill a roster spot.

- Scroggins - Could end up starting for 2 years or more without beating out Barkley at USC. Even if Barkley RS this year, he could start for 3 years (or 2) then go to NFL, that would leave opportunity for JS to RS and then start for two years. Plenty of time to impress the NFL.
- Rettig and Brunetti - I think we offered a little late bc we weren't sure about their abilities. They went to more camps and got stronger. Although both showed strong interest initially, they were not happy we didn't put them at the top of the list right away.

If we don't get Scroggins, we may not sign a QB until after this fall. These kids are still growing and developing. Summer is boring and I'm counting down the days. This soap opera just helps pass the time of day until then.

Bottom line is I think we will be fine this year with 3 QBs (assuming we sign at least 1 JC). I believe last year's offense did not allow the QB to do well. You can't come out and try to throw down field in triple coverage every passing play. Throw a screen, quick out or anything short. Whoever starts this year will not put up big numbers, but will run the offense with few mistakes.

I'm pretty sure we already will have 3 QBs in '09-- Crompton, Stephens, and Rozier.

Volunatic writes:

in response to cc623:

Where exactly is Boyd on Clemson's list of proposed starters?Answer nowhere he is INJURED(Sustained torn ACL which will require surgery)and WILL NOT PLAY THIS SEASON...

Next reason for booting Boyd:Considering CLK has in mind what fits the system and columnists and keyboard warriors do not i'm sure he saw all he needed to make a decision for the betterment of Tennessee.

What cc623 said...

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

in response to JCforUTVols:

My thougts exactly, thanks MB

I guess I'm not the only one here that has that cross their mind. because I just realized "chiefofstaff" had already posted something similar. I guess I should read all the posts.

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Volunatic writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

W_D mannerisms very different over on the SI T&R (T&A) boards. Internets never lie, 'cept when they do.

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

in response to Volunatic:

uf is recruiting Scroggins to keep him away from Tennessee. I think they would try to make him switch to WR.

You may be right about that. Urb would love to throw a wrench in our recruiting after what happened last year.

I was just thinking, Brunetti and Rettig and the kid from Washington all became better prospects after going to all these camps and competitions. There may be some out there that will be even better during the course of the season. Allot can happen over the course of a year.

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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