Lane Kiffin and his top recruiter, Ed Orgeron, did their share of damage to the UT class, picking up Markeith Ambles and linebacker Glen Stanley.
Derek Dooley comments on UT's signing day
The Vols were hoping to make a receiver connection in the 2010 signing class and while the dust was settling today on National Football Signing Day it appears they had a completion.
Top receivers Da’Rick Rogers, 6-3, 215, from Calhoun (GA.) High School and Justin Hunter, 6-5, 180, of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Va., signed with Tennessee. Leaving the defection of Markeith Ambles to Southern Cal almost painless. The Vols already have 6-6 Matt Milton and Ted Meline on campus as mid-term enrollees.
Tennessee also picked up one of the nation’s top linemen in James Stone, 6-5, 300 pounds from Maplewood High School in Nashville.
The Vols signed 17 to bring the list to 25 signees counting the eight mid-term enrollees already in school.
Head coach Derek Dooley’s press conference concerning the signing class is set for 5 p.m. today at Neyland Stadium.
Analysts will be weighing in throughout the day, but an early look would indicate the Vols did reasonably well -- possibly even Top 10 well -- and considering Dooley had less than three weeks to lock the class down after replacing Lane Kiffin, who left for Southern Cal, that's saying something.
Kiffin and his top recruiter, Ed Orgeron, did their share of damage to the UT class, picking up Ambles and linebacker Glen Stanley. The Vols lost defensive lineman J.C. Copeland to LSU.
The Vols also lost out on a couple of long shots, including offensive lineman Damien Robinson from Olive Branch (Miss.) High School. Robinson signed with Mississippi State.
But, the list of players who did sign on with the Vols is still impressive.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Player of the Year, Rogers gained a state record 1,641 yards in receiving in his senior season. He is rated a five-star prospect by Rivals.
Rogers told the AJC that new coach Derek Dooley was the main reason he decided to go to the Vols. He wasn’t sure he would have if Lane Kiffin had remained there as head coach.
“Before Dooley, not so interested. After Dooley, a lot interested,” Rogers said. “So it was a big thing for me.”
Hunter is ranked the No. 75 prospect overall by Rivals and the No. 8 wide receiver prospect in the nation. There were some nervous moments as rumors circulated that Hunter was switching to Virginia at the last minute; they proved unfounded.
Stone picked Tennessee over Alabama. He is ranked the No. 7 offensive guard in the nation by Rivals. He is the TSSAA Lineman of the Year in Class AA.
Nash Nance, Rogers' teammate at Calhoun, also signed with the Vols. The 6-3, 215 quarterback, who recently switched his commitment from Vanderbilt to UT, was 203 of 297 passing for 3,017 yards in his senior season. He is rated a two-star by Rivals.
Meanwhile, running back Rajion Neal, 5-11, 215 from Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga., has signed with UT as National Football Signing Day continues. Neal is a four-star prospect on Rivals. He is ranked the No. 9 tailback national by Rivals.
Defensive lineman John Brown, 6-2, 285 from Northeast Mississippi Community College, signed with Tennessee, giving the Vols a lift in an area lacking in the class especially with the loss of Copeland. Brown is rated the No. 33 junior college prospect by Rivals. Both Rivals and Scout list him as a four-star prospect.
Mychal Rivera, a 6-4, 250 pound tight end from College of Canyons in Van Nys, Calif., signed. He is ranked a three-star by Rivals and Scout and the No. 39 tight end prospect in the country.
Linebacker Martaze Jackson, 6-2, 225, a three-star from Demopolis (Ala.) High School has signed. He his rated the No. 131 defensive end in the country by Scout but is expected to make the move to linebacker. He was the defensive line MVP of the U.S. Army All-America Junior Combine in 2008.
Linebacker John Propst, 6-1, 220 of Hoover, Ala., has signed. He is rated the No. 25 overall inside linebacker nationally and No. 35 prospect in Alabama by Rivals. He totaled 160 tackles as a senior.
Defensive back Eddrick Loften, 6-0, 200 from Nimitz High School in Irving, Tex., has signed. He is a Rivals four-star and ranked the No. 25 prospect in Texas.
Linebacker Raiques Crump, 6-2, 220 from Minor High School in Adamsville, Ala., has signed. The Eagle Boy Scout is rated a two-star by Scout and was on the Birmingham News All-West team. He had 106 tackles and eight sacks.
Independence (Kan.) Junior College defensive back Dave Clark, 6-2, 190, signed. He is ranked the No. 39 overall junior college prospect by Rivals.
Athlete Marcques Dixon of Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Ga., has signed. At 5-10, 195, Dixon is rated as a three star by both Rivals and Scout. He totaled 40 tackles as a senior.
Offensive lineman Zach Fulton, 6-5, 315 of Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Homewood, Ill., has signed. He is rated the No. 11 prospect in Illinois by Rivals and the No. 14 offensive guard nationally by Scout.
Defensive back Dontavis Sapp, 6-3, 205 defensive back from Valdosta, Ga., has signed. Rated a two-star by Rivals and Scout, Sapp was first team 1-5A in Georgia. He totaled 56 tackles and two interceptions his senior year.
Marques Pair, an offensive lineman from Sumter, S.C., has signed.
Pair, 6-6, 275 pounds, is rated a 3-star by Rivals and the No. 16 prospect in South Carolina.
Michael Palardy, a kicker from Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has signed. He was an early commitment but had hinted at possibly changing his mind with the coaching staff change at UT. He is rated as the No.1 kicking prospect in the nation by Scout. A total of 98 percent of his kickoffs were for touchbacks.
The Vols had gotten an early jump with an impressive group of mid-term enrollees, led by a Parade All-America defensive end and a quarterback who just might be the answer to a most pressing need.
Ooltewah’s Jacques Smith, 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, was Tennessee’s first commitment of the 2010 class and, despite the shocking turnover of coaching staffs, he showed up on campus in January and is attending class. Smith was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in Tennessee by the News Sentinel and the No. 8 defensive end nationally by Scout.com. He participated in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl.
Tyler Bray, 6-foot-6, 190 from Kingsburg (Calif.) High School, is a Rivals four-star quarterback, ranked as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the class nationally. Bray stock rose throughout his senior season in which he passed for 3,321 yards. With Nick Stephens as the only quarterback with any game experience at UT, getting a quality quarterback was vital to this class.
At 6-foot-6, JaWuan James has the height and likely will be adding to his 290 pounds of weight to help on an offensive line that has holes to fill. The North Gwinnett (Ga.) High School product is rating a four-star by Rivals and Scout. He played in the Under Armour All-America Game.
Matt Simms, 6-3, 215, son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, has already done some travelling in college. He played at Louisville in 2008, transferred to El Camino Community College in 2009 and then joined the Vols this winter. His college playing experience should come in handy with the lean quarterback situation.
Channing Fugate, 6-2, 225, was a fullback at Breathitt County High School in Jackson, Ky., but is listed as an athlete and could be switching positions in college.
Ted Meline, 6-3, 170 of North Miami High School, is an impressive member of what could be the nation’s best receiver class. His senior season was limited to five games in which he averaged 32.2 yards per catch to pile up 487 yards.
Corey Miller, 6-4, 230, from Brynes High School in Wellford, S.C., should help fill another position of need for the Vols. He is ranked the No. 3 weakside defensive end by Rivals and the No. 2 prospect in South Carolina. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-America Game.
At 6-6, 200 pounds, Matt Milton of Mascoutah (Ill.) High School is the big-target receiver the UT offense has been craving. He is rated the No. 6 prospect in Illinois and the No. 20 wide receiver prospect nationally by Rivals.