Far be it from a sports writer to use hyperbole in a column, but that's the word that pops to mind when I think of Tennessee's 2010 signing class.
No, it's not the best class in the nation.
But the sum of the parts adds up to a recruiting class that should be remembered for the perseverance needed to put it together.
If it were a player, the 2010 class would be Billy Ratliff, the former defensive tackle who overcame injury after injury to have one of the most respected careers in recent memory.
Like Ratliff, UT battled back over and over again to secure its signing class.
First, there were the secondary violations. (Does anybody even remember hostesses-gate?)
Then, there were the assistant coaching changes. Then, the coaching change. Then, the snowstorm.
At one point I wasn't sure that UT's class would be one of the best in East Tennessee, much less one of the best in the nation.
Which makes me think. Were Kiffin and Ed Orgeron really the greatest recruiters since Uncle Sam said "I want you!"
Was Phillip Fulmer one of the greatest recruiting head coaches of all time?
Sure, they're all great, but they also shared a common bond: The University of Tennessee.
The school. The stadium. The city that surrounds it. And most of all, the fans.
Those same fans may have been heartbroken, but not broken when one of the two most successful coaches in UT history was dismissed. They had the same constitution when the brash young coach they rallied behind did his best impression of the Baltimore Colts.
Yet as excited as those fans are, reality will soon set in. UT's football program isn't perfect. Neither is its 2010 signing class.
The class that fans are still celebrating has holes. For proof, here's a position-by-position breakdown:
Quarterback B+: The Vols didn't get an upper echelon quarterback, although some recruiting services have argued there wasn't one available in the 2010 class.
I have long believed that Kiffin waited too long to offer the nation's top quarterbacks. While they waited, others scooped up the best talent.
Still, the Vols secured one of the up-and-coming quarterback prospects in Tyler Bray, who garnered praise for his accuracy in summer passing camps.
The Vols also picked up some immediate help with junior college transfer Matt Simms. Nash Nance should provide depth even if he doesn't compete for the starting job. And he came with a pretty good teammate.
Running Backs B: The Vols didn't really need a tailback after their strong haul in 2009. Still, they picked up a solid prospect in Rajion Neal, if he doesn't end up at linebacker. Channing Fugate could factor in at fullback.
Receivers A+ : UT's receiver signees rival any in the nation and possibly in school history. It would be hard to imagine not finding at least one playmaker when Justin Hunter, Ted Meline, Matt Milton and Da'Rick Rogers take the field.
The Vols also picked up a solid tight end prospect in junior college transfer Mychal Rivera. He should contribute immediately if UT utilizes a two-tight end set as expected. Fugate could factor in at tight end as well.
Offensive Line B : Ja'Wuan James and James Stone are the headliners while Zach Fulton and Marques Pair have been longtime commitments. Still, another offensive lineman - or two -would have been a welcomed addition.
Defensive Line C- : Losing out on defensive end J.C. Copeland hurt. Not landing another defensive tackle hurt more.
The Vols helped themselves with highly rated ends Corey Miller and Jacques Smith. Tackle John Brown needs to provide immediate help at tackle.
Fugate could factor in at defensive end.
Linebacker D : The Vols had to reach on two lower-level prospects when they offered Raiques Crump and John Propst scholarships. But given the circumstances, those were the only option.
Martaze Jackson is rated slightly higher. UT needed help at linebacker. Is this trio ready to contribute?
Defensive Backs C+ : Again there was a reach out of necessity with Dontavis Sapp, but UT also picked up two higher-rated prospects with Dave Clark and Eddrick Loften.
A junior college transfer, Clark should help the Vols fill in for departed juniors Dennis Rogan and Eric Berry. Clark is still recovering from a knee injury that caused him to miss last season.
Marques Dixon can play cornerback or safety.
Special Teams A : UT needs a great placekicker and got a great prospect. Michael Palardy should compete for the starting job as soon as he walks on campus.
Dave Hooker covers recruiting.