Checking the timeline for offensive line

Ever wonder how it got to this point for Tennessee?

How does a school with so much pride in building championship offensive lines face a looming 2010 season in which they'll have so little depth and so few proven players up front?

First, let's look at this season and how the Vols postponed the inevitable rebuilding.

Credit two former walk-ons, Cody and Cory Sullins, much of that. Credit Aaron Douglas for giving the Vols a tackle to hang their helmets on. Had it not been for those three surprises, there's no telling where the Vols would be this season.

As for next season, UT will have to replace four starting offensive linemen (both Sullins brothers, tackle Chris Scott and guard Jacques McClendon), a gimpy former starter (Vladimir Richard) and a beat-up center (Josh McNeil) who started 35 games for the Vols before a severe knee injury slowed him this year.

Behind that group, the Vols have eight largely unproven offensive linemen on scholarship. All but one are underclassmen.

UT is hosting three big-name offensive line prospects this weekend. Every school sells playing time. The Vols mean it.

Here's a look back at each signing class and what went wrong:

n 2005: This looked like the signing class that would build a dominant offensive line: McNeil proved injury-prone but tough, yet didn't immediately jell with new coach Lane Kiffin. That, along with a severe knee injury, has kept him on the bench this season.

Scott was a late bloomer but has been a solid upperclassman. Richard was moved from defense and has played admirably. Malcolm Rawls left UT to return home and play for Memphis.

n 2006: McClendon has proved to be a consistent starter. Jarrod Shaw was moved from defense and found playing time this season before being benched in favor of Douglas.

Ramone Johnson was dismissed. Darius Myers wasn't asked to return.

n 2007: Darris Sawtelle left UT after Kiffin told him he wasn't good enough to play in UT's new system.

Converted defensive lineman William Brimfield and Cody Pope have been backups to this point in their careers.

n 2008: Douglas, a converted tight end, appears on the verge of stardom. Dallas Thomas is competing but needs to get stronger. Carson Anderson is still on the team at center.

Preston Bailey quit football to focus on academics.

n 2009: JerQuari Schofield has the frame coaches want at tackle but needs to add strength. Kevin Revis was a low-level recruit yet has plenty of respect among the high school football community. Daniel Hood needs to get much bigger.

n 2010: The Vols have commitments from Zach Fulton, Jose Jose and Marques Pair. There's also a defensive lineman or two that might be a good fit on offense. UT, however, is still in the market.

Hurtin' For Irvin: The Vols took a hit in the national recruiting rankings when they lost commitment Bruce Irvin last week. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker (who likely will play defensive end in college) de-committed from UT and committed to Arizona State following his official visit to Tempe, Ariz., last week.

Scout.com dropped the Vols from third to seventh. Rivals.com dropped UT from fourth to sixth.

Don't fret, Vol fans. Such switches are common among junior college players. And even though Irvin is committed to Arizona State, there's a great chance the standout from Mt. San Antonio Community College in Walnut, Calif., ends up signing with the Vols.

Trash Talking: After "re-committing" to Florida, safety Matt Elam had a zinger for Kiffin.

"Oh well, I'll just beat him," Elam told The Palm Beach Post when asked if Kiffin would be mad about his decision.

Florida coach Urban Meyer put the press on Elam, a 6-foot, 205-pound safety from Dwyer High School in West Palm Beach, after the prize recruit took an official visit to UT last weekend. It's obvious that Meyer didn't want another Nu'Keese Richardson situation.

Tish Tosh: Kiffin's popularity hit an all-time high (or low) when Kiffin was briefly mentioned on the season premiere of Tosh.0 on Comedy Central. It seems the host, Daniel Tosh, bears somewhat of a resemblance to Kiffin.

Tosh, as he usually does, poked fun at Kiffin on the Internet clip show, which is popular among the young men demographic.

Guess what? College football prospects are young men, so Kiffin won't be complaining about the added exposure.

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

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Comments » 31

Bigger_Al writes:

Carson Anderson is still on the team. That's like saying the Tennessee Titans are still in the NFL!

Not a ringing endorsement...

Maverick1921 writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not that you need any help degrading your credibility, but if Moses was a silent commit, then how do you know about it???

mytrifecta writes:

I continue to be shocked that we gave Daniel Hood a scholarship. Like our program doesn't have enough challenges without adding a convicted rapist to the team. I read the transcipts from his case and this kid is a sociopath. But what the hey...as long as he can help us on the offensive line right?

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So, I guess that means that CPF was just biding his time last season. He was just setting up everyone for the inevitable return of UT to the SEC and National Championships. I have to admit, it was a brilliant plan...nobody expects a football team that loses to Wyoming to be much of a threat. Too bad all of us stupid fans were just too short sighted and interpreted it as a "losing season."

BillsBrother writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nit Wit...you are funny without trying!

This offensive line has performed better than any UT team in the past three years.

And you and your silent commits. HA! You need to be publicly committed. Are you silently roaming the halls of Knoxville's old Lakeshore hospital dreaming of the "good old days"???

mike_d writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope God forgives you before you die for the hatred you have in you and have decided to put out in the world.

6MillionDollarPumpkin writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Phillip, is that you? Why dont you get over it and get on board, Fulmer is gone. It would not matter who the head coach is, if you are a true supporter of the big orange, support them. We have been in the land of mediocrity for far too long and it will take a couple of years to get out of it. Kiffin and co. will get us out of it. One player, Morgan Moses would not be the answer and you know it. We may end up getting him anyway since he is now at Hargrave. Give Kiffin and company a chance, Fulmer is gone but obviously not forgotten.

6MillionDollarPumpkin writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh by the way "DaMan" nobody likes you because your stupid!

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to mike_d:

I hope God forgives you before you die for the hatred you have in you and have decided to put out in the world.

Mike ,this is one comment I will agree with. DaMan is the most stupid,hard hearted poster ever,and we have had some doozies in the past.He needed a good dose of parential guidence growing up.Today he just needs a good dose of salvation.

we3vols#281863 writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You sound like my X. Always spinning to place blame. Phil's gone, Lane has only one recruiting class onboard and all Vols fans must listen to your twisted views. You would not understand truth if it bit you in the AZZ or in your case the brains. BTW, do not wear pull over golf shirts. They do not have front buttons. Your head is so far up your AZZ that you MUST unbutton the navel level buttons on your shirt to obtain vision otherwise you will continue to view only bowels and intestines and are doomed to continue your Shatty outlook on life. Go Vols!

we3vols#281863 writes:

in response to mytrifecta:

I continue to be shocked that we gave Daniel Hood a scholarship. Like our program doesn't have enough challenges without adding a convicted rapist to the team. I read the transcipts from his case and this kid is a sociopath. But what the hey...as long as he can help us on the offensive line right?

May God forgive you....Go Vols!

dvols writes:

the o-line started stinking when munoz and respert did not pan out! and thus went the vols

TommyJack writes:

in response to mike_d:

I hope God forgives you before you die for the hatred you have in you and have decided to put out in the world.

He is a mean and spiteful thang...straight razor totin man. -Tony Joe White (sort of)

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

He is a mean and spiteful thang...straight razor totin man. -Tony Joe White (sort of)

Does he like "taters", um huh?

KFDLaw writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If everything was so rosey under Coach Fulmer, why did we have two 5 win seasons in the past five years?

TommyJack writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Does he like "taters", um huh?

gator got you granny, chomp chomp

volaboard writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Carson Anderson is still on the team. That's like saying the Tennessee Titans are still in the NFL!

Not a ringing endorsement...

Easy there Al. CA is a redshirt freshman, and I believe I saw him at midfield last week for the coin toss. The staff must see some pretty strong leadership skills out of this kid if he served as a captain so early in his career.

Granted, the only playing time I have seen him have this year was in mop-up duty against WKU. But, he looked to have quick feet and finished his blocks. I think he needs to add a few pounds and some strength, but I think he can be expected to contribute as an upperclassman. Remember, he was a 2 star prospect, and they are not expected to contribute immediately. I know that UT should look for higher rated recruits, but they don't always pan out either, i.e. Crompton.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to volaboard:

Easy there Al. CA is a redshirt freshman, and I believe I saw him at midfield last week for the coin toss. The staff must see some pretty strong leadership skills out of this kid if he served as a captain so early in his career.

Granted, the only playing time I have seen him have this year was in mop-up duty against WKU. But, he looked to have quick feet and finished his blocks. I think he needs to add a few pounds and some strength, but I think he can be expected to contribute as an upperclassman. Remember, he was a 2 star prospect, and they are not expected to contribute immediately. I know that UT should look for higher rated recruits, but they don't always pan out either, i.e. Crompton.

I'm hoping for the best from him. I was looking for news on his development, and Hooker's comment wasn't too enthusiastic.

UTfaninYankeeland writes:

I have been curious about Kevin Revis and his development but this article certainly didn't answer any of my questions. What does Hooker mean by "he was a low level recruit yet has plenty of respect among the high school football community"? Can someone with any knowledge re-write the article for Hooker and let us know what is going on with the offensive lineman. Revis I believe was a 3-star by the way so I don't get the low level (1 or 2 star I assume) comment.

tennrich1 writes:

You guys are doing it again...DaMan is one of the folks i have referred to in the past....he's on an oppositions website saying silly things to get you to respond and he sits back and laughs....
Resist the urge...its his game....

mtvols writes:

Sawtelle wasn't going to play for us due to injuries before Kiffin even took over as coach.

The_Greater_Pumpkin writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You make it more apparent with every post that you have no real knowledge of what is going on with our program. If, or when Phil gets another job, will you please leave this sight so that you can follow your hero blindly somewhere else? I can say, however, that I am happy to see that your grammar and spelling has inproved somewhat.

jmadden81 writes:

Revis doesn't have the respect of anybody.

Kevinyaheard writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey bro if you are so all over Phil's you know whats, then why don't you make like him and Michael Jackson and Just Beat It. You spend alot of time talkin about a team you don't like. You must be still lookin to give your first gift to a woman. Doesn't your favorite team have a website?? Go find it Jr. and run along.

tennezz writes:

All DaMan needs is an enema, He is full of it!

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to chuck0303#1342365:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

First, let's clarify my position. Glad to see Fulmer go. Think Kiffin is the right hire.

But, while I like the idea of getting high profile guys, we can't sign all Top 50 recruits. Let's hope we can also get some gems that may fly under the radar and develop them. There are plenty of them out there. Hopefully, with the Coaching/Recruiting Staff we have, we can find some of those guys and BUILD some superstars as well as sign some.

UTfaninYankeeland writes:

in response to jmadden81:

Revis doesn't have the respect of anybody.

What does that mean? Did he beat up you or your kid or something? If you have something to say or some knowledge about something then say it.

douglasawilliams#582863 writes:

in response to mytrifecta:

I continue to be shocked that we gave Daniel Hood a scholarship. Like our program doesn't have enough challenges without adding a convicted rapist to the team. I read the transcipts from his case and this kid is a sociopath. But what the hey...as long as he can help us on the offensive line right?

He was 13 at the time. And I believe it was an older boyfriend of the victim who actually raped her if I'm correct. Not defending at all what he did. Just that he was very young. Do you think he should have done hard time in a state prison?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

First, let's clarify my position. Glad to see Fulmer go. Think Kiffin is the right hire.

But, while I like the idea of getting high profile guys, we can't sign all Top 50 recruits. Let's hope we can also get some gems that may fly under the radar and develop them. There are plenty of them out there. Hopefully, with the Coaching/Recruiting Staff we have, we can find some of those guys and BUILD some superstars as well as sign some.

That very ability to recognize and develop "diamonds in the rough" is one of Ed Orgeron's better claims to fame as a recruiter. At Ole Miss, for example, he saw the potential of Patrick Willis and Michael Oher when many others overlooked them. Both became first-team All-Americans and are now very rich men in the NFL. Tyler Bray may be another such. No, we won't get all the top-50 types, but I am willing to bet that the ones we DO get will PLAY at that level and we will get some others of the Willis/Oher type as well.

VolunteerLifer writes:

You ask with respect to the offensive line depth: How does it get to this point for Tennessee?

Answer is a simple two words: Phil Fulmer.

volzcrushm writes:

in response to mytrifecta:

I continue to be shocked that we gave Daniel Hood a scholarship. Like our program doesn't have enough challenges without adding a convicted rapist to the team. I read the transcipts from his case and this kid is a sociopath. But what the hey...as long as he can help us on the offensive line right?

Hey jerk...karma is a beeeeotch! I wonder what's going to happen to one of your own(if not you), for the slander you dish out??

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