Matt Darr, nation's top punter for 2010 class, signs with Vols

Tennessee has signed the top punter in the nation in the 2010 class.

Matt Darr plans to enroll this summer in time for second semester classes.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Darr, who is from Frontier High School in Bakersfield, Calif., took an official visit to UT this week and was scheduled to depart Knoxville on Wednesday.

Darr had signed a letter of intent with Fresno State, but was released.

He initially committed to Southern California but reopened his recruitment after coach Pete Carroll left for the NFL two days before signing day.

Former Fresno State special teams coach John Baxter helped sign Darr but Baxter's contract was not renewed by Fresno State. Baxter then joined Southern California's staff.

He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was selected to the MaxPreps All-America first team. Darr averaged 42.9 yards per punt with a career long of 71 for Frontier. Darr turned in 96 tackles, a team-high 79 solo, from his linebacker position. As a junior, he averaged 46.3 yards per punt with 93 tackles.

Darr also excelled in track and field, leading Frontier to the state championship this month with individual titles in the shot put (62 feet, 1.25 inches) and discus (192-0). For his combined efforts, Darr was named a finalist for the MaxPreps National Athlete of the Year.

“We have never signed a special teams player with the raw natural ability that Matt has,” Fresno State coach Pat Hill said on signing day. “He’s a powerful player and has the ability to change a game by quickly by changing field position with one swing of his leg.”

UT has one scholarship punter, senior Chad Cunningham, on its roster.

UT also signed the top placekicker in the nation, Michael Palardy from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He is scheduled to enroll in July.

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Comments » 154

gnm53108 writes:

Hot damn!

aidensgrandpa#442215 writes:

Terrific news. I used to cringe every time UT kicked, punted, PAT or kicked a field goal. I hope those days are gone for the next four years at least. Aidens grandpa

OrangePride writes:

It is so great to see So Cal get the short end of this. WELCOME TO THE HOME OF THE VOLS!!!!

cphil writes:

This has all sorts of "soap opera" aspects to it.

BigOrangeBill writes:

OK, now we've got ALL KICKING NEEDS COVERED...so let's "kick the phooey" out of all opposition. Coach D is "D"oing just fine!!

gnm53108 writes:

2010 class...That would give us (by some services)the #1 punter and kicker of this class!

The General would be proud.

Bogus writes:

Awesome!

BigBadVol writes:

Coach Dooley and staff are doing just fine thank you!

oskie_score writes:

What??? Did the Colquitt pipeline dry up??? JK.

Great p/u! Darr can both "boom" and "place" the 'ball. Field position is so critical especially so during a re-building period.

Nice work CDD &Staff!

Neyland123 writes:

Great news !!!

tnsevol writes:

welcome aboard Matt!!!

Ironcity writes:

in response to oskie_score:

What??? Did the Colquitt pipeline dry up??? JK.

Great p/u! Darr can both "boom" and "place" the 'ball. Field position is so critical especially so during a re-building period.

Nice work CDD &Staff!

I think we are going into a 15yr lull while we wait for grandchildren to get old enough.

Ironcity writes:

This will be is especially helpful if our Oline doesn't get any better.

westennvol writes:

I refer to the General's Maxims....#6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made. WAY TO GO COACH D!!!!!

bugman (Inactive) writes:

"change a game by quickly by changing field position"

smalltownsouthernman writes:

Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made. ... I think the last few years made us all realize how true that is. Not to play 'what if' but better play in the kicking game last year and we beat Alabama.

volsnationalchamps writes:

Great job coaches getting him to come to UT. We should defintily be great in kicking game with both Freshman kickers coming in. This will definitly win us some games in the upcoming seasons with both these guys. GO VOLS!!!

TheOpinion writes:

So is he eligible for this year or does he have to sit out?

mtowntim writes:

Hell yea!! Last year my eye would start twitchin every time a kicker took the field. Although some fans have given up on this season it appears Dooley hasn't. GO VOLS!!

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's still the same game, no matter the facemasks, the race of the players, the era, etc. The idea that the General didn't coach in the era of the forward pass is simply wrong. The kicking game is critical to success, and can be used as a great weapon against the opponent. Just look at Beamer Ball up at VaTech.

This is great news. A great kicking game can partly offset a struggling offense, so it comes just in time.

Tennacious writes:

Welcome to Rocky Top Mr. Darr! Better go ahead and start loosening up now. With all of the new guys on our offense you will probably be called upon early and often...

Seriously though, well done Coach. This is a good addition to the roster at a position often under appreciated...until you need to boom one out of your own end zone in the fourth quarter of a tight game.

tnsportsman writes:

in response to westennvol:

I refer to the General's Maxims....#6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made. WAY TO GO COACH D!!!!!

This is excellent! Yes, CDD is reading the Maxims! LOVE IT!

Looks like he can play LB as well! When you are down 10 scholarship players, you find young men that can play several positions.

WELCOME TO BIG ORANGE COUNTRY YOUNG MAN!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

VOLume27 writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

To paraphrase Dr. "Bones" McCoy:

"As to what VolnotHAMILTONfan says, it is not important, and we do not hear his words."

You are a sexual intellectual rectual. Let THAT go.

Volunatic writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

General Neyland's maxims are still true, regardless of how the game has changed.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

It's still the same game, no matter the facemasks, the race of the players, the era, etc. The idea that the General didn't coach in the era of the forward pass is simply wrong. The kicking game is critical to success, and can be used as a great weapon against the opponent. Just look at Beamer Ball up at VaTech.

This is great news. A great kicking game can partly offset a struggling offense, so it comes just in time.

And the offense is going to struggle....at best.

BamaVol writes:

This kid is also a heck of a LB

Volunatic writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

It's still the same game, no matter the facemasks, the race of the players, the era, etc. The idea that the General didn't coach in the era of the forward pass is simply wrong. The kicking game is critical to success, and can be used as a great weapon against the opponent. Just look at Beamer Ball up at VaTech.

This is great news. A great kicking game can partly offset a struggling offense, so it comes just in time.

What VolunteerLifer said...
Good point about a great kicking game partly offsetting a struggling offense. The excellent punting of David Leaverton and Dustin Colquitt helped hide the inadequacy of UT's offensive schemes on many occasions.

jcherrie#219531 (Inactive) writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The General was about 14 when the forward pass was legalized.

volboy81 writes:

#1 punter in the Nation...#1 place-kicker in the Nation. The General would be proud. O and D are next....Look out SEC!!

AWOLVol writes:

George Cafego and the General can stop rolling now...wait...is that tap-dancing I hear? Nah, but I bet they'd approve!!!

TommyJack writes:

For the mopes on here that don't know the game...this is a HUGE get.

GOJO writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

***

----- & you sir/or madam are totally uninformed. I saw The General coach. Segregation yes; the rest is pure poppycock.

dvhill100 writes:

I remember the punt Colquitt made that won us the Miami game down there when he boomed and the catcher fumbled it. Looking forward to those days again.

99gator writes:

getting a good or great player at any position is always a good thing.

that said, it's a punter......

a punter

punkin writes:

I see this a kind of a backhand to the coach at USC. Yes!

Bigger_Al writes:

We've lost many a game in the last decade when our offense and defense performed better than the other team. Maybe we can steal a few games in the next couple of years with superior special teams.

My guess is that this guy will have to sit out a year due to signing with Fresno State. By the way, Fresno State is Kiffin's alma mater...

rockytop4ever writes:

Good sign for UT. This kid can kick and played a good linebacker in HS. My only question is can he play O-Line too? Go Vols!!!

PoochPuntOn3rdDown writes:

in response to 99gator:

getting a good or great player at any position is always a good thing.

that said, it's a punter......

a punter

It takes a big man to come on anonymous site time and again and put down the efforts of a staff and team that are admittedly down and trying to return the program to past success. That you are a gator and even have that in your screen is further proof of your special brand of cowardice...

Back to the point; when was the last time a team signed the top kicker AND punter in the same class? I'd venture to say never. Special teams and defense produce wins. The Vols have a long way to go but recruiting coups like this give me much hope in this group of coaches...

VolinCalif writes:

in response to JpShojo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Like your intent but there is a flip side. That could be only once a game.

orangecountyvols writes:

For the Volnothamiltonfan trolls and his fellow trolls this has to be getting frustrating for you guys. For each good news received, it must be getting more and more difficult to continue to exist with futile negative comments. In fact daily, it just makes all of you look very awkward........because you realize what's happening and it wasn't supposed to be this way. The Vols were supposed to strike out and they weren't supposed to be able to sign this type guy.

Okay, enough of that. Congratulations to this young man for seeing the light and choosing well. The kicking game is hitting a 'home run'. Keep em' coming Vols.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

So is he eligible for this year or does he have to sit out?

I don't think he has attended a class, so he's fine.

99gator writes:

in response to PoochPuntOn3rdDown:

It takes a big man to come on anonymous site time and again and put down the efforts of a staff and team that are admittedly down and trying to return the program to past success. That you are a gator and even have that in your screen is further proof of your special brand of cowardice...

Back to the point; when was the last time a team signed the top kicker AND punter in the same class? I'd venture to say never. Special teams and defense produce wins. The Vols have a long way to go but recruiting coups like this give me much hope in this group of coaches...

ok, i'm going to bring it now, because i said what i said out of respect for tennessee.

for numerous people to get fired up over the signing of a punter is pretty dang sad.

you're tennessee for crying out loud! it's a freakin punter.

i have no problem with tennessee. they can win every game but one, as long as florida is able to go to the championship game.

but, people quoting neyland's maxims or getting pumped up about the signing of a punter shows just how much tennessee has fallen.

have some pride. you're tennessee. it's a punter. having a punter is no big deal. quick. name the punter for florida or alabama.

murrayvol writes:

in response to 99gator:

getting a good or great player at any position is always a good thing.

that said, it's a punter......

a punter

just so happens we need a very good punter

we need other things too but Rome wasn't built in a week

NeylandWest writes:

Press the kicking game!

196SVol writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

For the Volnothamiltonfan trolls and his fellow trolls this has to be getting frustrating for you guys. For each good news received, it must be getting more and more difficult to continue to exist with futile negative comments. In fact daily, it just makes all of you look very awkward........because you realize what's happening and it wasn't supposed to be this way. The Vols were supposed to strike out and they weren't supposed to be able to sign this type guy.

Okay, enough of that. Congratulations to this young man for seeing the light and choosing well. The kicking game is hitting a 'home run'. Keep em' coming Vols.

I can imagine Dooley's recruiting lines...."our offense will be so bad, we NEED a punter like you"...or, you will be on TV more than any other player...

tsaecesnitsebhtruof writes:

in response to 99gator:

ok, i'm going to bring it now, because i said what i said out of respect for tennessee.

for numerous people to get fired up over the signing of a punter is pretty dang sad.

you're tennessee for crying out loud! it's a freakin punter.

i have no problem with tennessee. they can win every game but one, as long as florida is able to go to the championship game.

but, people quoting neyland's maxims or getting pumped up about the signing of a punter shows just how much tennessee has fallen.

have some pride. you're tennessee. it's a punter. having a punter is no big deal. quick. name the punter for florida or alabama.

Well said!!!

NeylandWest writes:

in response to 99gator:

ok, i'm going to bring it now, because i said what i said out of respect for tennessee.

for numerous people to get fired up over the signing of a punter is pretty dang sad.

you're tennessee for crying out loud! it's a freakin punter.

i have no problem with tennessee. they can win every game but one, as long as florida is able to go to the championship game.

but, people quoting neyland's maxims or getting pumped up about the signing of a punter shows just how much tennessee has fallen.

have some pride. you're tennessee. it's a punter. having a punter is no big deal. quick. name the punter for florida or alabama.

C'mon 99, think back to pre-Spurrier...that's pretty much where TN is right now. Florida would've given both testicles in order to sign top players regardless of position back when teams were taking you to the shed.

btw...I agree that is sad when fans have to celebrate the arrival of a punter...honestly, it made me cringe b/c I'm training tonight with several of my buddies...that are not TN fans. I'm not going to hear the end of it.

Oh well...maybe this kid will make the Brandon James' of the world work a little harder before slamming a return down our throats.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

We've lost many a game in the last decade when our offense and defense performed better than the other team. Maybe we can steal a few games in the next couple of years with superior special teams.

My guess is that this guy will have to sit out a year due to signing with Fresno State. By the way, Fresno State is Kiffin's alma mater...

Not sure he'll have to sit out a yr. I read on the B. report that Fresno released him. Also he has not been on campus or attended a class. But I am unsure of all the rules. lets hope he can play this year. Love all of his abilities and a punter is the last line of defence. He has the skill to make the tackles.

41_14gbo writes:

in response to murrayvol:

just so happens we need a very good punter

we need other things too but Rome wasn't built in a week

Thanks murrayvol. Short and well put. There are lots of areas that need help, and you have to start somewhere, and if the offense can't move the ball due to lack of offensive linemen, new running backs or newbys at QB, then I suspect we will punt alot...might as well have a good punter.

darbhoo writes:

in response to 99gator:

getting a good or great player at any position is always a good thing.

that said, it's a punter......

a punter

Hello 99gator. How's Urban Cryer's throat. Was that caused by his choking in games or his crying over anything that did not go his way? He and you have much in common... a superiority attitude with an inferiority life.

Get a grip and move on. We are not buying your nonsense anymore.

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