A look at UT's commitments before and after Dooley

First a coaching change, then snow; what's next? Locusts in Knoxville? Despite the challenges, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has certainly had an impact on UT's 2010 signing class since being hired on Jan. 16. With National Signing Day looming on Wednesday, here are UT's commitments before and after Dooley's hire and some prospects headed elsewhere.

Post-Dooley Commitments

Player Pos. Size School/Hometown

Justin Hunter WR 6-4, 180 Ocean Lake HS/Virginia Beach, Va.

Hunter was Dooley's first public commitment since becoming UT's coach. He's still his highest rated. The Hunter family was stunned by former UT assistant Willie Mack Garza's departure, who left for Southern California to join former coach Lane Kiffin, since he recruited Hunter. Still, Hunter seems firmly committed. However, it's worth noting that Hunter was once committed to LSU and its coaches won't give up.

Martaze Jackson LB 6-2, 205 Demopolis (Ala.) High School

Jackson picked UT over Alabama-Birmingham, South Alabama and Jackson State, but fits a dire need for UT: linebacker. Jackson said he picked UT, in part, for its engineering program.

Eddrick Loften S 5-10, 195 Nimitz HS/Irving, Texas

UT had to be concerned when Loften said he'd take an official visit to USC this weekend where his former UT recruiter, Garza, is now. That trip is reportedly off and Loften seems destined for UT. It is unclear if USC intended on offering Loften a scholarship.

Nash Nance QB 6-3, 200 Calhoun (Ga.) High

Nance de-committed from Vanderbilt after being wooed by Dooley. A solid prospect, his commitment would be even more significant if teammate Da'Rick Rogers, one of the highest rated receivers in country, followed his close friend to UT. Rogers is committed to Georgia.

Rajion Neal RB 5-11, 215 Sandy Creek HS/Tyrone, Ga.

Neal had been committed to Mississippi State but Dooley swayed him. Neal is considered by most to be a power back with above average quickness.

Mychal Rivera TE 6-4, 230 Coll. of the Canyons/Santa Clarita, Calif.

Rivera picked UT over Kansas State. UT's offense under Dooley is expected to be tight-end heavy so this pickup addresses a strong need.

Glen Stanley LB 6-2, 245 Trinity HS/Ocala, Fla.

Originally to enroll at Central Florida, Stanley is said to have a fantastic size/speed ratio with a 40-yard dash time in the 4.4s. If that's the case, Stanley would be a tremendous prospect at several positions.

Pre-Dooley Commitments

John Brown DT 6-2, 285 NE Mississippi CC/Booneville, Miss.

Early indications were that Brown might venture elsewhere, but he is thought to be firmly committed to UT now. Playing time should a factor. The Vols could use a junior college defensive tackle like Brown.

J.C. Copeland DE 6-2, 240 Troup HS/La Grange, Ga.

Thought to be firmly committed to UT after the coaching change, but decided to take an official visit to LSU this weekend. Stay tuned.

Marcques Dixon Ath. 5-10, 185 Southwest Dekalb/Decatur, Ga.

Considered an official visit to Miami this weekend, but cancelled it. Said he'll sign with UT on Wednesday.

Zach Fulton OL 6-4, 305 Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.) High

Firmly committed to UT.

Marques Pair OL 6-6, 255 Sumter (S.C.) High

He spoke highly of UT throughout his recruitment. Expected to sign with UT on Wednesday.

Michael Palardy K 6-0, 170 St. Thomas Aquinas/Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Palardy has been one of UT's strongest commitments, holding true even after his recruiter, Eddie Gran, left for Florida State last month. He scheduled an official visit to Miami for this weekend but told the News Sentinel on Saturday he would be signing with UT on Wednesday.

Ralph Williams LB 6-1, 220 Gulliver Prep/Miami

Williams scheduled an official visit to Ole Miss this month, but is expected to sign with UT.

De-Commitments Since Coaching Change

Player Pos. Size School/Hometown

Markeith Ambles WR 6-2, 185 Henry County High/McDonough, Ga.

Ambles de-committed from UT but put together a last-second official visit to Knoxville this weekend. That should give UT hope. Ambles is also considering Alabama, LSU, North Carolina and USC. He'll likely sign his letter of intent after National Signing Day.

Ahmad Dixon S 6-0, 220 Midway High/Waco, Texas

Dixon committed to Baylor after UT's coaching change. The Vols didn't give up hope, but Garza's departure ended any chance the Vols had.

Delvin Jones DL 6-6, 230 Miami (Fla.) Palmetto High

Jones has openly said he is not committed to UT any longer.

Calvin Smith DT 6-4, 265 Hialeah (Fla.) High

Smith was a big loss to UT's class, one that the Vols haven't given up on. Since UT's coaching change, Smith had what he called a "phenomenal" visit to Alabama and reportedly visited New Mexico this weekend. UT is still in the hunt.

Michael Taylor LB 6-1, 205 Westlake High/Atlanta

Taylor announced his commitment to Florida shortly after Kiffin's departure. Credit Kiffin's staff for evaluating Taylor, whose stock grew after UT's scholarship offer.

Kenbrell Thompkins WR 6-3, 190 El Camino CC/Torrance, Calif.

Thompkins signed his letter of intent so he's contractually obligated to UT, but at this point it's unclear if he'll end up at UT.

Brandon Willis DE 6-3, 255 J.F. Byrnes High/Duncan, S.C.

Willis was on his way to UT as a mid-termer but changed paths when he heard of Kiffin's departure. Willis is enrolled at North Carolina.

Mid-Term Enrollees

Player Pos. Size School/Hometown

Tyler Bray QB 6-6, 200 Kingsburg (Calif.) High

Channing Fugate LB/RB 6-2, 230 Breathitt County (Ky.) High

JaWuan James OL 6-7, 305 North Gwinnett High/Suwanee, Ga.

Ted Meline WR 6-2, 170 Miami (Fla.) North High

Corey Miller DE 6-4, 250 Byrnes High/Duncan, S.C.

Matt Milton WR 6-6, 195 Mascoutah (Ill.) High

Matt Simms QB 6-3, 215 El Camino CC/Torrance, Calif.

Jacques Smith DE/LB 6-3, 240 Ooltewah High

- Dave Hooker

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Comments » 34

Bkvols88 writes:

FIRST....Dooley is the man!

UT4ever writes:

Nothing about Ralph Williams?? we all know he's goin' to Ole Piss! HOHOHHOHO!!!!!!

volunteerfan27204#295834 writes:

It;s been a crazy short ride and week but Dooley continues to get it done. He is the Man!


I have posted a new video for the UT fans who bleed Orange!Go Vols! It's starting to look good on the hill.

wjr2b2 writes:

Sure wish Willis wouldn't have "turned around" last minute as a DT seems to be the only glarring need in this class. Great job DD!!

mtemple7#256967 writes:

I'm amazed at what this guy's accomplished in a little of 2 weeks! If this is a sign of things to come, then I can't wait until September!

tnsportsman writes:

It's OK UT is looking good! Go Get Them Coach Dooley!

nocleats writes:

We Need, D Lineman !! We Need O lineman !! NEED

saban_is_satan writes:

can we hang on to copeland?

stayingorange writes:

We do need more OLs and I think they will be signed by Wednesday. But it's interesting looking through this list that Dooley/UT is getting all the OLs that were ever on board and none have decommitted. It's not like any have been lost, just need to add more.

cloudodust writes:

I'm pleased we've Milton onboard. Imagine a trio of big timers split and slotted. Keep working it CDD and bring in some meat for the trenches too...

Souther writes:

Dooley has thus far done a superb job of damage control and righting the ship. I like it. Fingers crossed for more linemen!

gatorhator4eva writes:

this stanley guy is a beast and fast, it is over for kiffin. i cant wait, dooley is the man.

nocleats writes:

Ok but we need d lineman !!!

TampaBayVol writes:

in response to stayingorange:

We do need more OLs and I think they will be signed by Wednesday. But it's interesting looking through this list that Dooley/UT is getting all the OLs that were ever on board and none have decommitted. It's not like any have been lost, just need to add more.

Chaz Green will announce Wed.


Weatherman writes:

in response to nocleats:

We Need, D Lineman !! We Need O lineman !! NEED

I agree...we might have to go after some JUCO candidates and get them in here ASAP...just in case we can't reel in any Freshmen.

prideofthesouthland writes:

What a terrible article format. Why don't you just feed us a spread sheet?

LiveFaith writes:

in response to prideofthesouthland:

What a terrible article format. Why don't you just feed us a spread sheet?

Sorry, but I liked it. Informative and mostly factual without another sportswriter performing to make a name for himself. Just functional. Different strokes.

keepitreal4vols writes:

in response to prideofthesouthland:

What a terrible article format. Why don't you just feed us a spread sheet?

It was actually some of Dave's best work.

NYvolFan writes:

Great article Hooker...I needed a summary like that. It certainly appears to me that Coach Dooley ROCKS, under tough circumstances.

Go Big Orange! Da' Rick...come on man...we need you, want you, and you'll never regret it!

Just look at that Mansion by the river!

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to saban_is_satan:

can we hang on to copeland?

Interesting name you have there. I bet he is to you!!!!

ric1958 writes:

I believe in my heart you will see Green and Stone wearing Orange and White in the fall

Bluesvol writes:

in response to prideofthesouthland:

What a terrible article format. Why don't you just feed us a spread sheet?

I have been trying to research this info for myself. Thanks Dave! Good stuff!

EarlyReader writes:

in response to prideofthesouthland:

What a terrible article format. Why don't you just feed us a spread sheet?

The point was to inform...not evaluate.
Good article.

dgcarter43 writes:

With the concern about a defensive coordinator, I believe coach Dooley has that already taken care of. The same goes for linemen. He must be confident he has the right ones ready to sign. The Vols should have an explosive offense this fall and, with the job coach Dooley has done recruiting this year, look out next year. I fully expect he will be in the top 5.

TLepage writes:

I agree with everyone that is saying we need more OL and DL.... But if we get the opportunity to sign Ambles and rogers, we would be stupid to pass up on those two.... then we use the remaining three scholarships on line... That would make us thin on the interior line on both sides of the ball in this year's class, and we would have to put more of an emphasis on linemen in next year's class....

SavTnVol writes:

in response to wjr2b2:

Sure wish Willis wouldn't have "turned around" last minute as a DT seems to be the only glarring need in this class. Great job DD!!

Not Me!!.I believe he was too self centered to be a part of a team. His commit-decommit-recommit on TV-decommit just showed he was more interested in "the spotlight" than being a "part"...I just don't believe he would have ever Given His All For Tennessee...BTW, I would imagine with all the DE we have, we can find some DT converts there..Use the remaining scholarships for the two WR's and fill the rest with OL BIG UGLIES

Ironcity writes:

We have three offensive Linemen and four defensive linemen committed. We could use another O linemen but we are not that short here. The reality is not many of these Freshmen will play next year anyways. James will but I would hope that none of the others probably would play. Its been proven through history that Freshmen O linemen tend to get overpowered. Same with Freshmen defensive linemen. In time I think these guys can all be a force but it will take a commitment in the weight room and on the practice field that few have had in high school.

Ringside writes:

Need Stone out of Mapelwood.

Southland writes:

Dooley has done as good a job as anyone could given the mess he inherited and having to deal with the sleeziest bunch of slime in the nation in Kiffin and country. I say it once again all who thought Kiffin was cool - you shameless idiots

knox7320 writes:

Great Article! Thanks for the breakdown. It should be interesting to see how this all plays out four to five years from now. That would be another great article.

suttree writes:

I think Dooley was more a political hire by Hamilton than what was truly in UT's best interest . . but, that said, if Dooley can reel in a top 10 class (I believe we are currently 7th on Rivals.com) it will speak volumes for Dooley and the staff given the circumstances they inherited.

Good luck coach . . I hope you guys do well this week.

orangevoltrain writes:

Hope we can get some of the de-commitments back!

kthoma14 writes:

would have like to see it in a table with stars of those before and after.

rockytop#413695 writes:

Don't know why Hooker keeps doubting Hunter's commitment. He kept that article up about it when Garza left. Hunter is not wavering. He knew Garza might leave. He almsost expected it. He will sign on Wednesday! Quit being such a negative Hooker!

By the way, one we do need to worry about is Glen Stanley. He visited USC this weekend and was offered by the rat. They didn't offer him when they were here but guess O and his turds are getting desperate. Stanley seemed very interested and he said he will decide between us and USC on Wednesday.

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