Hooker: Vols have edge over Florida for recruiting

Let's take a step back from Saturday's Tennessee-Florida game and the ongoing debate concerning whether fans, players and/or coaches should consider a 10-point loss in The Swamp a moral victory.

Everyone knew the Vols were in for an uphill battle playing Florida. The talent differential was just too great. That was obvious at various times.

But when will the talent between the two teams be more equitable? That leads us to recruiting.

The Vols stood toe-to-toe with Florida in recruiting when they pulled two of the Gators' commitments - Marsalis Teague and Nu'Keese Richardson - in February. Yet two prospects do not a program make, and the Vols will be judged on what they do over a full recruiting season.

Even with a strong staff and a full season, UT's recruiting will be challenged annually to match Florida, which has more talent within its state than any other program in the SEC and most in the nation.

Yet the Vols are more than holding their own this year. UT has 21 commitments for 2010. Florida has 15.

Scout.com ranks the Vols' class as the third best in the country. Florida comes in at ninth. Rivals.com ranks UT and Florida fourth and seventh, respectively, in the nation.

According to Scout, the Vols have four 5-star prospects: receiver DeMarco Cobbs, junior college defensive lineman Bruce Irvin and defensive ends Jacques Smith and Brandon Willis. Florida has three: safeties Matt Elam and Jonathan Dowling and tailback Mack Brown.

If things go according to plan, the Vols should get a more immediate impact from their 2010 class than Florida. UT has commitments from three junior college defensive linemen: Irvin, Patrick Harris and John Brown.

With that trio, the players UT culled from its 2009 class and a few 2010 newcomers, the Vols should be much closer to Florida's talent when the two teams meet in Knoxville next September.

The difference in talent between UT and Florida was no more evident on Saturday than at quarterback. Florida has Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. UT has senior Jonathan Crompton, who has thrown seven interceptions in the Vols' first three games.

Both players are gone next season but Florida still figures to have an edge at quarterback in 2010.

UT will lean on junior Nick Stephens or an incoming freshman. The Vols have a commitment from Tyler Bray, who is considered a 3-star prospect by Scout. Florida sophomore John Brantley won't be able to run like Tebow but many think he is a better pocket passer.

Of course the Vols aren't just competing against Florida. Given the dip in talent at UT, there are a handful of other teams in the SEC that have equal or better talent. That shouldn't be the case for long.

UT ranked eighth in the nation and fourth in the SEC for the Class of 2009 according to Scout. Rivals ranked the class 10th in the nation and fourth in the SEC.

Florida, with a limited number of scholarships to offer, finished behind UT in both rankings.

The Vols rank first in the SEC for the Class of 2010, according to Scout. Rivals ranks UT second, behind LSU, in the SEC.

When comparing UT and Florida, Miami's renaissance is certainly worth watching. Both schools have fared well in South Florida while the Hurricanes have struggled. A return to glory by Miami would make that area tougher to recruit successfully.

UT went to Florida with a deck stacked against it this year but didn't leave the table penniless. By not getting shellacked by the Gators, the Vols showed they can be competitive with one of the elite teams in the nation.

There were dozens of prospects in the stands to check out the Gators. A handful were also considering the Vols, including defensive back Cody Riggs from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., linebacker Jeff Luc from Port St. Lucie, Fla., receiver Chris Dunkley from Pahokee, Fla., and Markeith Ambles from McDonough, Ga., who is committed to UT.

Defensive end Jacques Smith was there as well but the Ooltewah star maintained he was only there as a fan, not a recruit.

While fans debate whether UT should celebrate a moral victory, first-year coach Lane Kiffin knows recruiting benefited by Saturday's showing.

"I think we have a powerful message right now to the country with what's going on in Tennessee football," he said following the Florida game. "I think you see it by the kids that just came here. I think you see it by guys like (freshman tailback) Bryce Brown playing, (freshman safety) Janzen Jackson out there every single snap on defense today and special teams.

"I think there's a real strong message. I think people following recruiting have noticed that as well."

Agreed.

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

The top 10 teams nationally and SEC teams ranked by recruiting services Scout.com and Rivals.com for the Class of 2010.

Scout.com

1. Oklahoma

2. Texas

3. Tennessee

4. Penn State

5. Alabama

6. LSU

7. Georgia

8. Stanford

9. Florida

10. Oklahoma State

25. Auburn

26. South Carolina

27. Vanderbilt

50. Ole Miss

51. Mississippi State

58. Arkansas

69. Kentucky

Rivals.com

1. Texas

2. LSU

3. Oklahoma

4. Tennessee

5. Alabama

6. Southern California

7. Florida

8. Georgia

9. Penn State

10. Texas A&M

24. Auburn

27. South Carolina

42. Ole Miss

43. Vanderbilt

49. Mississippi State

58. Arkansas

77. Kentucky

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 89

OrangeBlur writes:

Read it and weep TROLLS.

ChattaVol1 writes:

It is just a matter of time until we are among the elite again! Keep up the good work CLK!!!!

vol1stsec2nd writes:

I think the Sou Cal situation just shows how tuff it is to play with an inexperienced QB, no matter how many stars they have. Here's hoping our QB struggles are are a thing of the past, and next year we don't go thru the growing pains again.

chad_t31 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

dude, you're gonna have your hands full winning the conference. P.S. I figured you had the flu as well, get well soon.

757vol_fanatic writes:

DC you still think florida is gonna win it this year? you've got to be joking? that or on the sauce. you talk all this trash about the horrible horrible VOLS and then on sat 2 plays woulda made the difference (the G. Jones step outta bounds in the endzone and the 3&16 that florida shouldn't have converted)...now i know the old saying "if if was a fifth we'd all be drunk" but come on......your precious gators and more importantly tebow has been exposed. he can't make the hard throw. if it's not a 10yd curl or a screen/swing pass he would rather run or throw it away....you think teams with more talent than UT didn't notice that? i know i did, and i'm just a dumb hick fan....

SIMSVOL writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Florida's days are numbered DC -
Tennessee is on the way back and Florida is losing its luster.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Great news.

Now on to Ohio U. Bobcats

OrangeBlur writes:

"While haters worry about September's recruiting rankings, Florida is 11 more wins away from the greatest accomplishment in college football history"

And hanging 60 on the Vols again.

Smoke another one.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bammer will beat Fl. this year, they have more talent and Gators won't win NC!!!
Meyers will be a domer next year and tblows will be GGGGGGGGOOONNNEEEEEEe

BillsBrother writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Greatest in history pffffffft!

FL hasn't even produced a perfect season and it's not going to happen this year either! FL is a beauty queen.

volbald writes:

What's this "not coaching to win" phooey? Kiffin's coaching was marvelous on Sat. He has to call plays which minimize Crompton's fumbling snaps, falling down, running into his tailback, dropping the ball, and throwing interceptions. Crompton simply can't throw down the field against an SEC level defense. The coach is giving the team its only chance to overcome Crompton's obvious and well documented deficiences. Thank Fulmer for recruiting Crompton. It's going to be conservative play calling the rest of the season, whether Crompton or Stephens is the QB. That's why it's going to be a long season. It will also painful to watch most of the SEC games. If we get more than a touchdown behind, Crompton will not be able to pass the team into the lead. We have to hope that the defense can score a few touchdowns in order to give us a chance to win any of the SEC games.

VOL03_NC writes:

Scout says Tyler Bray 3 star. The qb camps say he is possiably one of the sleepers and will be one of the best in the nation. He is 6-6 @ 200lbs. He needs some weight but throws with very good accuracy. He was second to Jason Heaps and said to have great mechanics in his throws. Over the top passer.
GO VOLS!!

BillsBrother writes:

I realize that Memphis is not part of Tennessee, but it is interesting that the Vols do not appear to be very active over there.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/...

volbald writes:

And another thing - if UT had just an average SEC level QB, we'd be undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country behind Texas. Kiffin and Co. has been doing that good a job with the team. .

BillsBrother writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

DC may not be far off. FL could fall off their high heels once or twice walking down the runway and the judges still might vote her into the final round.

jcherrie#219531 (Inactive) writes:

I want to throw up when people talk about a 2/10 a point in 'average stars' and that garbage.

Recruiting rankings aren't that precise - both Tennessee and Florida have top classes - the bottom line is that the talent differential is disappearing - we had 2 terrible recruiting classess in the last 4 years - but now we've had 2 great classes in a row - We're on our way back.

CRFVols writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A dynastic run? Isn't that a disease associated with eating bad food?

Cldvols1 writes:

in response to MVuniv:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Give it time d-bag, give it time.

dlobh writes:

in response to MVuniv:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I guess this troll didn't notice that if Gerald Jones had just stayed in the end zone, which the Gators had nothing to do with, and if Tebow had been sacked on third and long on their last TD drive, which Tebow did have something to do with, UT may have won the game. A couple of plays could have done it. It doesn't matter what you say a couple of Vol fans behind you said. Even at that point, Kiffin and most knowledgeable Vol fans knew that Crompton couldn't start bombing down the field. Our receivers aren't good enough right now, and Crompton needed to stay with the game plan. You are blowing things way out of proportion. Just about 80 hours ago, you thought the lizards would blow the Vols out. Didn't happen, thanks to great coaching by Monte's D and Lane's controlled offense. So you and your man crush Urban can how shove your not playing to win theory.

abnermc writes:

MV & DC , Be afraid, be very afraid!! It's time! Here we come.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

Ah, we play Ohio this week not the Gators. The Fla. game is 11 months & three weeks away. FOCUS!
ps: KNS please do not post Hooker's picture anymore, he scares my dog.
GO VOLS!!!

TommyJack writes:

With a nod to PD, we are ripe for a let-down. Focus, boys.

Madkels writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who cares about this year. I'll give you the crystal football now if you'll shut up. We are talking about the future. Not only will Tebow be gone next year, you guys are going to have to compete in recruiting and on the field with a revived Miami and FSU program. So as we see it, we have seen the dark times and are coming out. You on the other hand, have basked in the sun and are now probably dimming a bit. No one stays on top forever. Not even the mighty gators.

rockytopatl writes:

Another story on this site notes Tennessee's lack of depth on the offensive line. This one talks about the Vols' alleged edge in recruiting, but makes no note that it's still extremely thin when it comes to O-Linemen. Much of the existing line is seniors. We gotta have big nasties, not to mention another QB.

BillsBrother writes:

in response to TommyJack:

With a nod to PD, we are ripe for a let-down. Focus, boys.

I agree that we the fans are ripe for a let-down. But I think the loss on Saturday made our boys MAD! I think they will be very ready for this game.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't know how long I stared at that before I could read the words on the shirt.

DC, you're alright...sometimes. jk

RebelVol writes:

For the Gators who already think that the successor will be a star replacing Tebow, don't take anything for granted. I remember a few years ago when we had this stud recruit named Jonathan Crompton coming out of high school. We thought that he would be better than Ainge and lead us to great things. Of course, you know how that worked out. Plain and simple, stars don't mean everything. A QB transition is a huge process. An inexperienced QB( no, mop-up work against Charleston Southern isn't real experience) can single handily wreck a team.

EricBerry4Heisman writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's already started. Go Gamecocks!!!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Another story on this site notes Tennessee's lack of depth on the offensive line. This one talks about the Vols' alleged edge in recruiting, but makes no note that it's still extremely thin when it comes to O-Linemen. Much of the existing line is seniors. We gotta have big nasties, not to mention another QB.

Was thinking the same thing. Need OL for xmas this year.

Vols033 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually, Florida will get beat in Baton Rouge in a couple of weeks, and if they really make it to the SEC championship, Alabama's defense will shut them down completely. Florida is no where near the same team without Percy and Louis Murphy. FACT

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to MVuniv:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UT's game plan made the most out of what little offensive talent we have. The defense definitely played to win and held Florida to 23 points. What was Kiffin supposed to do with the offense? He has receivers that don't understand their routes and a QB that feels more comfortable throwing to the other team...and these are his VETERANS. To win the game his offense had to do two things: 1) keep the ball out of Tebow's hands as much as possible and 2) play to it's strengths at running back. He did both those things and kept it close. How much more would UF have won by if Kiffin had chosen to let JC aggressively throw the ball?

The truth is that Florida fielded a team that was much more talented and much more experienced than UT. In these types of situations, all a fan can expect from a good coach is to play the best game he can with the talent at his disposal. By keeping the score close and choosing a game plan that gave his kids a realistic opportunity to win, Kiffin did "more with less" and that is the mark of a truly talented coach.

volfan2002 writes:

We have several more good players that we can get this year. If everything falls in place perfectly we could have the number one class in the nation and seems certain that we will be top ten regardless.

CRFVols writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow

I'll just imagine she's a real high maintenance b*tch so it doesn't hurt soo bad to know I'll never meet her. lol

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Another story on this site notes Tennessee's lack of depth on the offensive line. This one talks about the Vols' alleged edge in recruiting, but makes no note that it's still extremely thin when it comes to O-Linemen. Much of the existing line is seniors. We gotta have big nasties, not to mention another QB.

If you look on Scout.com, and see the prospects UT is pursuing, they seem to be loosing a lot of recruiting battles. Here's what I think:

Kiffin's decision to continue to play Crompton is also a huge vote of no confidence against Stephens (who will probably end up starting next year). By sticking with Crompton, CLK is sending the message to his OL prospects that they will either be protecting a horrible QB or an untested freshman. What Offensive lineman want's to protect a QB that's worse than Crompton or one that doesn't know what he's doing?

19SEP09 writes:

HOMER article.

Let's chat on NSD.

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Another story on this site notes Tennessee's lack of depth on the offensive line. This one talks about the Vols' alleged edge in recruiting, but makes no note that it's still extremely thin when it comes to O-Linemen. Much of the existing line is seniors. We gotta have big nasties, not to mention another QB.

Anyone heard anything about the two OL recruits from last year?

OT 31 JerQuari Schofield (South Aiken HS)
Aiken, SC 6-6/298 06/16/2008

OG 38 Kevin Revis (Rhea County HS)
Evensville, TN 6-4/270/5.30 06/12/2008

Brillovol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hmm, ahead in recruiting? No moral victory, just victory.

Minimizing Fla? Nope, just confident about the future.

11 more wins for Fla? Nope, disappointment in the Ga Dome.

You make no sense. Don't guess the fever's broke yet.

GahLee writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Quit assuming that your going to win a national title this year, certainly a front-runner, but it is way too early to assume your going to win a title this year.

jp17 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Didnt Nebraska already have three NC in 4 years. I guess some how Florida doing it would still be the greatest though! Thanks for reading the Vol articles, nows a good time to jump on the band wagon.

sidwalkvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bud Wilkinson's Sooners might disagree.

jawga writes:

"Believe the hype" sheep & after Lame lays the 6-6 egg we'll see how many 5-Stars make the trip to the Poinsettia Bowl

Link4vols writes:

Good to hear that....

2407westTN_VOLSfan writes:

KY is planning on catching the Gators while they still have the flu. You could tell that Coach Kiffin had UM worried. His only option was to run Tebow. I think Florida will pull a Bammer at the end of the season. It will be pay back time for the boys in maroon. Some sports casters are saying Florida may not even win the East Division this year. We can wait and see. Meantime the 24 hour rule has passed and we need to focus on OHIO!

rockytop#413695 writes:

in response to VolAlum2003:

If you look on Scout.com, and see the prospects UT is pursuing, they seem to be loosing a lot of recruiting battles. Here's what I think:

Kiffin's decision to continue to play Crompton is also a huge vote of no confidence against Stephens (who will probably end up starting next year). By sticking with Crompton, CLK is sending the message to his OL prospects that they will either be protecting a horrible QB or an untested freshman. What Offensive lineman want's to protect a QB that's worse than Crompton or one that doesn't know what he's doing?

What offensive lineman wouldn't want to block for Bryce Brown, David Oku, and Tyrone Pool?

tennezz writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That will not bother Tebow! He would rather circumcise little boys!!!

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to rockytop#413695:

What offensive lineman wouldn't want to block for Bryce Brown, David Oku, and Tyrone Pool?

That's a good point and I can't argue with it. Honestly, I don't know why UT can't seem to win recruiting battles for O lineman, especially since the Vols staff seem to be able to recruit RBs and WRs with relative ease. Maybe our O line coach isn't that great? Maybe this year's high school stock of O lineman is lacking? I don't know. It's been my experience that the O-line is one of the most experience dependent positions to play; you almost never see freshman come in and play on the line. Maybe Kiffin feels like he needs to focus his recruiting efforts on skills positions and then develop three-star recruits at O line. I don't know.

FWBVol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The Gators might not even be the best team in Florida this year. Miami is rolling and FSU looked good against BYU.

Good Luck. NOT!

KnoxTennVol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee exposed many weaknesses that Florida has. They will not win another championship this year. I am not delusional, I know UT has weaknesses too, mostly at offense. Our recruiting will fix that and Florida and others are worried and should be. Tennessee Football will be on top again soon. That is why the excitement about recruits and why you are worried.

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

the next time those gayfors sqeaks out a win or loses , what will the excuse be this time ? wait I know , crying liar will tell everybody some of his players panties were in a wad or they was too tight.
The media is eating urbie and fla alive on tv and Im sure you have noticed..
Kiffin-2
Urbie-0
Fla doesnt make it to the NC game,they will be lucky if they dont lose 2 instead of 1.
Crying Liar and gayfors have been exposed as a fraud.

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to PlaidinOrangeandWhite:

Anyone heard anything about the two OL recruits from last year?

OT 31 JerQuari Schofield (South Aiken HS)
Aiken, SC 6-6/298 06/16/2008

OG 38 Kevin Revis (Rhea County HS)
Evensville, TN 6-4/270/5.30 06/12/2008

Kevin Revis is red shirting this year.

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