Sure, it took a little longer than usual, but what Tennessee fan wouldn't turn in a few extra weeks of wondering to add two of the top tailbacks in the nation?
Facing almost impossible circumstances, UT coach Lane Kiffin and his staff (with some assistance from some previously employed UT coaches) landed a top-10 signing class.
Here is my belated position-by-position grades of UT's 2009 class:
Kiffin never made an effort to sign a quarterback in 2009. He's thinking long-term and believed he was too far behind to land a great one this year.
Commitments Tajh Boyd and Bryce Petty were told they wouldn't be good fits in UT's new offensive system. In other words, don't come to Knoxville, sit on the bench and scare off an elite quarterback for the 2010 class.
In retrospect, why did former UT offensive coordinator Dave Clawson offer Petty a scholarship? The Texas standout was considered a pedestrian prospect. He had few scholarship offers - most from smaller schools - and eventually signed with Baylor.
Running Backs: A+++
It's the best haul of tailbacks in the nation: two top 100 players and a solid prospect.
Bryce Brown was an incredible pickup. Rivals.com's top prospect in the nation is a great mix of power and speed.
Another top-100 prospect, David Oku, could prove to be the speed back that Kiffin desires in his offense.
Toney Williams is undoubtedly the overlooked prospect among the group. Yet the mid-term enrollee has shown some ability in spring practice.
The grade might seem a little low considering the Vols stole Nu'Keese Richardson from Florida and get partial credit for athlete Marsalis Teague, who could play some slot receiver but will likely end up on defense.
Yet UT lost out on three high-level prospects to SEC competition: Kendall Kelly to Alabama, Alshon Jeffrey to South Carolina and Marlon Brown to Georgia. All were big receivers that Kiffin's offense will one day rely on.
Brown is the stinger. Losing Memphis' best prospect won't cut it for Kiffin and his staff.
UT faced an uphill battle when Frank Wilson was named receivers coach. A strong recruiter, Wilson hasn't coached receivers before. His players will need to play well to erase any doubts about his coaching in the recruiting community.
James Green and Zach Rogers are solid prospects.
Offensive Line: D
Shortly after signing day, UT's coaches lauded JerQuari Schofield as one of the top offensive line prospects on their board.
He better be. UT is woefully thin up front after this season, especially at offensive tackle where Schofield is projected to play.
The Vols also signed interior lineman Kevin Revis. A surprise at first, Revis continued to gain respect throughout his senior season.
Quarterback is mission No. 1 for UT in the 2010 class. Offensive line is a close second.
Janzen Jackson, Darren Myles and Nyshier Oliver each are headliners. So is Teague, who will likely end up playing defensive back.
The Vols also secured two solid prospects in Mike Edwards and Eric Gordon. Edwards should help the Vols reach into talent-rich Ohio for future prospects. Gordon, just 5-foot-9, had better be quick.
Jerod Askew committed to UT so long ago that many might have forgotten that he's considered one of the top 100 prospects in the nation.
Memphis standout Greg King is a strong pickup. Nigel Mitchell-Thornton and Robert Nelson fill out an impressive group.
Defensive Line: C
Kiffin and crew tried a couple of last-ditch efforts to land another defensive lineman. None panned out.
I like the gamble of adding Arthur Jeffrey, who would have been an elite prospect had he not suffered a serious knee injury.
Rae Sykes and Marlon Walls were once fantastic prospects. We'll soon see just how the duo responded to academic stopovers.
Considering the circumstances, I still scratch my head when I think about how the Vols secured one of the top 10 recruiting classes in the nation.
Kudos to the new staff.
Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He may be reached at email@example.com.