OL Thurman still interested in UT despite mix-up

Trip Thurman isn’t allowing a miscommunication override a lifetime of passion for Tennessee football.

An odd exchange that prevented the 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman from Dover (Del.) High School from meeting UT’s coaches occurred April 17 just before the Orange and White Game.

Thurman, who had been recruited by UT under former coach Lane Kiffin, planned to visit Knoxville and take part in the spring finale festivities with the other 50 or so prospects on campus.

Thurman’s high school coach called UT’s recruiting office to inform the Vols his star pupil would be visiting.

“I’m still interested in Tennessee and I haven’t heard anything from them so I called down there,” Thurman told The Sports Animal radio station on Wednesday. “They said they had heard about me and that they were excited about me coming down.”

Then, Thurman walked to the prospect entrance gate just like any other visiting recruit, and was told he wasn’t on the list. Thurman said UT offensive line coach Harry Hiestand called Monday to apologize.

“Coach Hiestand said it was just a mix-up, that it didn’t get relayed to him or any of the other coaches,” said Thurman, who stayed and watched the game. “I really don’t know who my recruiting coordinator for my area is so I couldn’t call anybody while I was down there.”

Thurman said Hiestand told him the Vols are still in catch-up mode after Derek Dooley was named Kiffin’s replacement on Jan. 15 with little more than two weeks before National Signing Day 2010.

“Coach Hiestand said they’re really behind on this year’s class because how late they had to recruit for the 2010 class,” Thurman said. “He said they’re very interested in me and they want to get to know me more. He just apologized that he didn’t get a chance to see me and I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of the coaches.

“… I thought it was a sincere apology. I know I’m still interested in Tennessee, so I want to see that through.”

Thurman already has scholarship offers from Florida, Clemson, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Cincinnati, but UT has a certain allure.

Thurman’s mother graduated from UT and his father lived in Knoxville. Growing up, Thurman closely followed the Vols, who have not yet offered Thurman.

Thurman, who made the trip to UT with his father, said they were a bit taken aback by being denied access by UT’s football department.

“He was just surprised,” Thurman said of his father. “It didn’t seem like a big-time school like Tennessee could get something mixed up like that.

“Not saying that I’m a great player, but when I say I’m going to come down and they don’t have me on the list, I just think that was kind of unorganized. He thought so too. But everything’s working out now.”

Thurman, also being recruited by Penn State among others, has seen his recruitment hit another level since he received a coveted scholarship offer from Florida.

“Most definitely it’s opened up my recruitment nationally because I know Florida is a great school, football wise,” said Thurman, who is unsure of when he’ll announce his decision. “It was exciting, but not that any offer is more exciting than the other.”

Thurman said he and his family will soon evaluate the schools he’s considering to decide where they’ll visit for summer camps. Thurman said if the Vols offered him a scholarship, it would certainly affect his decision.

“They would definitely be high on my list because I know I have that (family) connection,” he said. “I’ve always liked Tennessee. … It just can’t get any better than Big Orange Country.”

Barring another mix-up, Thurman can expect a visit from one of UT’s coaches during the spring evaluation period, which is ongoing.

So far, Thurman’s only contact with a UT coach has been Hiestand’s phone call to apologize.

“I think he’s a great guy,” Thurman said of Hiestand. “Obviously, if he’s coaching at Tennessee he knows what he’s doing. You can’t really get to know a guy over the phone, but over the phone he seems like an overall good guy.”

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Comments » 132

TheOpinion writes:

Are you kidding me? They're still in catch up mode? It's been almost 4 months. Lane Kiffin (as much as I hate the guy) had a top10 class in his first few months and had recruits lining up for the next year. By this time last year we had at least 5commits. Come on Dooley get it together. The kid didn't even know who his prime recruiter was? And we haven't tried to recruit him since Dooley took over? Come on Dooley it's Division 1 football, it's the SEC, it aint intramurals. Go play intramurals brother go play intramurals

Mtnbiker writes:

FIRST!!
OMG someone should be horse whipped for not getting this kids name on the freaking list.

TheOpinion writes:

Come on Dooley it's Division 1 football, it's the SEC, it aint intramurals. Go play intramurals brother go play intramurals

Orange_Crush writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

Are you kidding me? They're still in catch up mode? It's been almost 4 months. Lane Kiffin (as much as I hate the guy) had a top10 class in his first few months and had recruits lining up for the next year. By this time last year we had at least 5commits. Come on Dooley get it together. The kid didn't even know who his prime recruiter was? And we haven't tried to recruit him since Dooley took over? Come on Dooley it's Division 1 football, it's the SEC, it aint intramurals. Go play intramurals brother go play intramurals

This is simply incorrect. Kiffin had 3 recruits at this time last year. He certainly did not have "a top 10 class with kids lining up for the next year" as you stated.

6MillionDollarPumpkin writes:

in response to Mtnbiker:

FIRST!!
OMG someone should be horse whipped for not getting this kids name on the freaking list.

Agreed. After reading about this kid, he is a beast!! With his size alone, the person at the gate should have let him in. This is totally uncalled for by a D1 school to not have it's act togethor. I am willing to bet that this doesnt even happen at Vandy or UK!!

BigBadVol writes:

First not recognizing Bryce at practice, then not allowing some former UT players to watch practice before calling, now a top recruit being ignored. I know you are busy coach but damn. Maybe just walking over to Bryce and saying you wanted him to stay may have been all it took. I hope this isn't some ego thing brewing.

notoriousBIGorange writes:

This is not a good trend. I predict Dooley will be gone after 3 seasons.

govols9875 writes:

yall need to chill out on dooley. I mean good lord. the guy just took over. Besides he's in on a lot of good prospects already anyway. To quote the great bruce pearl, "focus on the process and not the end result". And for all you kiffin lovers that are writing in, the guy obviously cant coach a lick. I mean we had 6 players drafted and still lost 6 games last year & of the teams we played only 2 of em(fla & bama) had more people drafted than we did, yet we still lost to 4 other teams. Tennessee fans are the most ignorant fan base in the country.

volinlouisiana writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Which troll are you? You're not even good at disguising it.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

First not recognizing Bryce at practice, then not allowing some former UT players to watch practice before calling, now a top recruit being ignored. I know you are busy coach but damn. Maybe just walking over to Bryce and saying you wanted him to stay may have been all it took. I hope this isn't some ego thing brewing.

Yea, this doesnt look good. This isnt the only kid that cooled to UT because of lack of contact. It makes me wonder about Dooley's recruiters. I didnt buy the not knowing B Brown was practice statement, and the former player incident didnt look good either, but he is a brand new coach from a small school that has some catching up and learning to do. He could turn it around given time. UT fans are impatient though and have high expectations so he better get it together quick.

mborovol writes:

This is not good....

cjones72 writes:

I think alot of the people on here that are doubting CDD will be eating your words this time next year . He has alot of good players this year heck look what kiffen did with a bunch of freshmen last year . How can any of you say your a VOL fan when all you do is put the coach down and the players down when you havent even seen them play a real game yet . Give them a chance if the freshmen we got wasnt any good im sure we wouldnt have had a top 10 recruiting class like we did so instead of putting the coach and players down show them some support .

CroKev writes:

Let's stick to the issue at hand. Thurman called UT and WHOEVER answered the phone correctly expressed excitement about his upcoming visit. But, that SAME PERSON evidently didn't relay the message and, as a result, should be disciplined or possibly fired. But even more important, why did Thurman HIMSELF have to call UT? Why wasn't the contact initiated on UT's part?! This kid with all his UT contacts obviously wants to come here. He is ours to lose and it certainly looks like we're on our way to doing that. Similar to what happened to the kid who just committed to Clemson. He also was ours to lose and UT did just about everything they could to lose him. I'm a fan of Dooley's organizational skills so I expect this to be remedied very quickly.

wyomingvol writes:

Weak Sauce..... What is this guy doing? He obviously isn't spending his time talking to the media, and also not talking to recruits... Get your Arse in gear Coach and Staff...

MidTennVol writes:

The gang that couldn't shoot straight.

Joevolsxtra writes:

in response to govols9875:

yall need to chill out on dooley. I mean good lord. the guy just took over. Besides he's in on a lot of good prospects already anyway. To quote the great bruce pearl, "focus on the process and not the end result". And for all you kiffin lovers that are writing in, the guy obviously cant coach a lick. I mean we had 6 players drafted and still lost 6 games last year & of the teams we played only 2 of em(fla & bama) had more people drafted than we did, yet we still lost to 4 other teams. Tennessee fans are the most ignorant fan base in the country.

So I guess recruiting isn't part of the "process". When a recruit says he's coming to see you, you should put his name on the list. This is the very reason Maclin signed with Clemson. Our coaches hadn't even made contact with him. His dad had to call and ask if he was still being recruited! He committed to Fulmer and X and we still couldn't land him. I like Dooley but he better reach way up his hind end and pull out his head if he wants to be a contender in the SEC.

volsfannsc writes:

I have a raised eyebrow over this one. This is the third guy having interest in UT, a high caliber prospect, that had not been contacted or cared for. This is the third 'heart-felt' apology from the UT coaching staff. I can see this happening once, and as a lesson learned, something put in place to assure it does not happen again. I can almost forgive a second instance if it happened again while this system was being implemented. The first instance was in Feb. and now a thrid instance and it's almost May. I know this coaching staff has a lot on their plate and a lot of catching up to do- but it would seem as though this would be a priority. Of the three shoe-ins that only required a phone call we have lost one, one is leaning another direction and this guy sounds like he is on the fence. System breakdowns like this are inexcusable for a Div 1 school. CDD- it's time to fix this....it's broken!

jimr07 writes:

in response to notoriousBIGorange:

This is not a good trend. I predict Dooley will be gone after 3 seasons.

You Fulmerites love for DD to get anything wrong. he ain't coming back.

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to DC_10point0:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

funny. this time a year ago, you and the rest of your troll buddies couldn't stop talking about all the duds on our team and the, what was it?.........60 pt beat down that was gonna happen in gaynsvul? anyway, now you say we were loaded with NFL talent. he....he..he...

back to the subject. maybe KNS has it out for this staff and wants to portray them as incompetent. if not the case, i'm getting a little tired of this staff not contacting a recruit or in this case leaving a name off a list and telling a kid "no entry." i don't think it's beyond CDDs job description to call this kid whether he's worth it to him or not. sounds like to me he's worth the call. so, CDD....CALL THS KID!

cjones72 writes:

I have a question that everyone is over looking . If this kid called and talked to someone then why didnt he have the guy at the gate call someone in recruiting to see if he was supposed to be there .

txvolsfan writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

US?
We are letting Coach DD coach a football game before we work on his buy out. I'm just saying!!!
Cryer was a Bowling Green and Utah before being a Gator, not exactly powerhouses or big time football.
Not saying DD is the next Cryer but I'm not going to say he is not either.
Time will tell, I hate to say it but I like what I've seen about the process and the under tones similar to Saban.
GO VOLS
SUPPORT THE TEAM
TXVOLSFAN in Florida

99gator writes:

people talk about dooley's experience as a recruiing coordinator (which i believe means jack), but it seems to me that they have a very limited focus as to who they are pursuing.

it seems that they are trying to stay within a certain radius of knoxville, which includes ignoring the state of florida as well.

someone correct me if i am wrong about all of this. but, i am not aware of tennessee going after people in florida, at least not like they were.

but, that is why i think some of these people are slipping through the cracks, even those who have ties to tennessee.

someone better inform dooley and his staff that they are at tennessee and can not simply walk across the street to build a winner.

it seems they are hanging their hat on outrecruiting georgia in georgia and finding "diamonds in the rough".

of all the stuff regarding dooley, this would be my biggest concern so far.

in short, i don't think these mix-ups and contact issues are an accident. after all, dooley is a very well organized individual (supposedly).

Swaggervolz writes:

Ok kiffin did not coach a team loaded with nfl talent..JC would have been on the bench for BJ if fulmer was still here and Jaq wasn't on anyones draft boards and Hardesty had one healthy year so to say are team was loaded come on people...But we need to give DD some time. I will support him and I hope he has a successful career.

Ringside writes:

No excuse for this screw up. Hoepfully Dooley calls himself. Need to clean up lose ends like this.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

in response to 99gator:

people talk about dooley's experience as a recruiing coordinator (which i believe means jack), but it seems to me that they have a very limited focus as to who they are pursuing.

it seems that they are trying to stay within a certain radius of knoxville, which includes ignoring the state of florida as well.

someone correct me if i am wrong about all of this. but, i am not aware of tennessee going after people in florida, at least not like they were.

but, that is why i think some of these people are slipping through the cracks, even those who have ties to tennessee.

someone better inform dooley and his staff that they are at tennessee and can not simply walk across the street to build a winner.

it seems they are hanging their hat on outrecruiting georgia in georgia and finding "diamonds in the rough".

of all the stuff regarding dooley, this would be my biggest concern so far.

in short, i don't think these mix-ups and contact issues are an accident. after all, dooley is a very well organized individual (supposedly).

Yes Dooley's strategy is to focus on Tennessee's natural geographic boundary which includes GA, NC, SC and to a lesser degree FL, VA, MS, AL, TX, OK, AR and LA. That being said we have offers out to kids in CA, FL and TX that I know of.

Dooley may well be very organized, but a new staff that includes some new coaches who haven't been part of big time recruiting in a while or in the case of Chuck Smith ever may have some bumps in the road until they get their legs under them.

graphpro#231211 writes:

It's a bad episode of Gilligan's Island.
Skipper and Little Buddy played by
Hamilton and Dooley

cjones72 writes:

in response to 99gator:

people talk about dooley's experience as a recruiing coordinator (which i believe means jack), but it seems to me that they have a very limited focus as to who they are pursuing.

it seems that they are trying to stay within a certain radius of knoxville, which includes ignoring the state of florida as well.

someone correct me if i am wrong about all of this. but, i am not aware of tennessee going after people in florida, at least not like they were.

but, that is why i think some of these people are slipping through the cracks, even those who have ties to tennessee.

someone better inform dooley and his staff that they are at tennessee and can not simply walk across the street to build a winner.

it seems they are hanging their hat on outrecruiting georgia in georgia and finding "diamonds in the rough".

of all the stuff regarding dooley, this would be my biggest concern so far.

in short, i don't think these mix-ups and contact issues are an accident. after all, dooley is a very well organized individual (supposedly).

Did you ever think that CDD was trying to gt TENNESSEE away from the school of thugs image . cause it seems like thats all that comes out of florida thugs . florida aint the only state that has good players .

jdcdjc writes:

Stuff like this just cannot be allowed to happen. Dooley & his staff will find they are in catch up mode from now on if they dont get this straightened out. If Dooley is serious about building the program back up he needs to get on top of these things. Dooley needs to get on the phone himself, would take abt 15 mins, and assure this kid he is wanted and needed, and offer him. With all the schools that are after him, he must be the real thing.

99gator writes:

in response to cjones72:

Did you ever think that CDD was trying to gt TENNESSEE away from the school of thugs image . cause it seems like thats all that comes out of florida thugs . florida aint the only state that has good players .

tennessee does not have a school of thugs image.

i can't think of a program worth a crud anywhere that doesn't have off the field issues.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to govols9875:

yall need to chill out on dooley. I mean good lord. the guy just took over. Besides he's in on a lot of good prospects already anyway. To quote the great bruce pearl, "focus on the process and not the end result". And for all you kiffin lovers that are writing in, the guy obviously cant coach a lick. I mean we had 6 players drafted and still lost 6 games last year & of the teams we played only 2 of em(fla & bama) had more people drafted than we did, yet we still lost to 4 other teams. Tennessee fans are the most ignorant fan base in the country.

Then stay off the board and you won't have to listen to it fool

JMP_Vols writes:

The "getting settled in" and "playing catch-up" alibi is wearing thin.

Whether they decide to offer this kid or not, they should have at least known he was coming. Props to Trip, though. I believe he handled the situation better than most of us would have.

Looking on the bright side, I'd rather read a story like this instead of our coach calling other coaches cheaters, telling recruits they'll be gas pumpers, making a fool of himself at SEC media days, etc.

Long term, we're better off today than we were 1 year ago.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to 99gator:

tennessee does not have a school of thugs image.

i can't think of a program worth a crud anywhere that doesn't have off the field issues.

We can do better.

Not suggesting that more "bad apples" come from one state over the other.

cjones72 writes:

in response to 99gator:

tennessee does not have a school of thugs image.

i can't think of a program worth a crud anywhere that doesn't have off the field issues.

Yeah we dont have a school of thugs image but everytime someone gets arrested everyone that posts on here calls TENNESSEE THUG U . I agree that just about all schools have off the field issues but it seems to happen more here than it does at other schools .

gnm53108 writes:

in response to JMP_Vols:

The "getting settled in" and "playing catch-up" alibi is wearing thin.

Whether they decide to offer this kid or not, they should have at least known he was coming. Props to Trip, though. I believe he handled the situation better than most of us would have.

Looking on the bright side, I'd rather read a story like this instead of our coach calling other coaches cheaters, telling recruits they'll be gas pumpers, making a fool of himself at SEC media days, etc.

Long term, we're better off today than we were 1 year ago.

Agree.

And if I were Trip I would have been p.offed.

onevol writes:

I have had an open mind about Dooley, but it does appear that he was better suited for the WAC than the SEC. This type of screw up tells me that he is not ready for the big leagues yet.

99gator writes:

in response to cjones72:

Yeah we dont have a school of thugs image but everytime someone gets arrested everyone that posts on here calls TENNESSEE THUG U . I agree that just about all schools have off the field issues but it seems to happen more here than it does at other schools .

that stuff comes from people who hate tennessee.

just like university of felons. the florida state criminoles, etc, etc, etc.

no one seems to complain or know about disciplinary problems at mississippi state. heard anything about arrests at missouri?

but, when it's a nationally relevant program......well, that's a different story.

it's a sad commentary on society.....but, you can't field a nationally competitive football program without having some individuals that you would not want over for sunday dinner.

Ayres_Hall writes:

The recruiting of teenage boys has become far too important with the jock sniffing fan base. This kid is much more mature than you boys. Grow up, will ya!

monsterman writes:

Hey I am a DD fan but this was a slip up. I know nobody is perfect but when you have a shot with a kid like this you really can't afford to fumble the ball.

I hope this is a wake up call. It sounds like the guy did not take it all wrong so that may be the silver lining.

tmartin writes:

this is simply inexcusable. this isnt a law firm where you work on your schedule. get it right or get out

easleychuck writes:

The comment from the story "Thurman’s high school coach called UT’s recruiting office to inform the Vols his star pupil would be visiting" is where the miscommunication occurred. Who did the coach speak with? How late in the week did he call? Was any UT coach made aware that the kid was coming? Does a a high school coach just call up and say he has a kid wishing to visit and that's how a name gets on a gate pass list? If this is the only mistake made by any school recruiting football players, then this is a major story. Doubtful, if that is the case

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

"Derek Dooley is the most organiozed coach I have ever seen" Mike Hamilton on hire day

volfansince1969 writes:

Just
Give
Him
A
SCHOLARSHIP

Pullingguard writes:

If it's happening with one recruit it surely is happening with other recruits.. There should be a real concerrn among loyal volunteer fans about the recruiting happenings on the hill. Now our coach is a lawyer, he speaks with smooth tongue, but one must wonder when it comes to recruiting if that tongue is not also forked. Just a bumbling bunch of small college thinkers here.

TLepage writes:

old, old, old news.... This kid released this statement about 5 days ago....

GerryOP writes:

The sky is not falling.

128 -- Fear The Dooley Dude...

jesusvol4 writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I smell a gator......you need to get back to the swamp. Tennessee is a BIG TIME SCHOOL! We Tennessee fans are just in a little frustrating moment in time, but we will overcome!

Ironcity writes:

in response to CroKev:

Let's stick to the issue at hand. Thurman called UT and WHOEVER answered the phone correctly expressed excitement about his upcoming visit. But, that SAME PERSON evidently didn't relay the message and, as a result, should be disciplined or possibly fired. But even more important, why did Thurman HIMSELF have to call UT? Why wasn't the contact initiated on UT's part?! This kid with all his UT contacts obviously wants to come here. He is ours to lose and it certainly looks like we're on our way to doing that. Similar to what happened to the kid who just committed to Clemson. He also was ours to lose and UT did just about everything they could to lose him. I'm a fan of Dooley's organizational skills so I expect this to be remedied very quickly.

When you tie this to the commit in North Carolina that we ignored and is now committed to Clemson, its not a good sign. If your behind take some of the low hanging fruit.

I am hoping for the best but truly concerned.

heyitsme writes:

Why hasn't anyone on this board recognized that this kid has not been offered a scholarship by the new USC coach that originally recruited him - Kiffin? Ummm...??

There's way too many "non-Volunteer" fans on this site - and that's a good sign Vol fans!

TLepage writes:

This is how i will interpret this scenario.... It is obvious that this staff is not very interested in Thurman... If you go on the other websites, you will see a plethora of other articles talking about kids that we are talking to on a weekly basis and visiting on the road as i type.... A lot of these kids have UT in their top 5 and some even at the top of their recruiting list.... Additionally, I would not be surprised at all if Alan Posey commits to us on tuesday (date of his commitment announcement).... Also, i have looked at our recruiting board for OL and Thurman isn't even on the list.... If you look at everything that is happening here, it is obvious that this staff does not want to offer Thurman and more then likely does not think he can contribute at this level.... I do agree that our coaching staff needs to get more organized, but i don't think this is a big deal at all... I really think that Thurman isn't a priority for us, and i'm willing to bet that all the other prospects that are higher on our recruiting board receive more attention from the coaching staff..... Regardless, they probably should figure out a better way to communicate between the support staff and coaching staff...

NashvillePreds writes:

Glad to hear Dooley is earning his $1.5+ million dollar contract. Good work. Strike one - Mike Slive likes you. Strike two - You are not even recruiting prospects, whom literally show up at your doorstep. Idiot.

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