It usually takes more than one recruiting class to turn a program into a has-been. But Tennessee's 2007 signing class could dispel that notion.
If forced to pick one signing class that could undermine first-year Tennessee coach Derek Dooley's chance to succeed immediately, the 2007 class tops the list.
An astonishing 17 signees from 2007 failed to complete their eligibility at UT.
The 32-member class that was considered by most of the recruiting services as one of the top five classes in the nation, has produced just one first-team All-SEC player: safety Eric Berry.
The class that some thought could catapult the Vols into championship contenders has produced just eight true starters. Others eventually started, filling in for injured players.
Although it may be hard to recall, the 2007 class was a fan favorite - for two reasons.
First, it was thought to be loaded with talent. It was ranked third-and fourth-best in the nation by Rivals.com and Scout.com, respectively.
Second, it was stocked with 10 in-state prospects. Yet, in retrospect, those players provided a shaky foundation.
The biggest disappointment - in-state or otherwise - from the 2007 class was linebacker Chris Donald from Huntingdon High School. Donald was considered the top prospect in the state that year. He was shuffled from one position to another, rarely played and transferred to Chattanooga in January.
UT's most successful Knoxville player from 2007 was defensive back Dennis Rogan from Fulton. Yet his contribution was bittersweet.
Rogan locked down a starting position but bolted after his junior season for the NFL draft in April and wasn't selected.
Other in-state players didn't make it that long.
In 2007, UT took three players from Chattanooga: fullback Kevin Cooper from Baylor, quarterback B.J. Coleman from McCallie and defensive end Cory Hall from Brainerd. Only one remains.
Cooper is still on the team and is the top fullback. Coleman transferred to Chattanooga for more playing time. Hall never qualified academically.
Former Austin-East standout Anthony Anderson continues to compete for snaps, along with receiver Todd Campbell, who is from Franklin.
Defensive end Rae Sykes from Alcoa had to attend junior college to improve his academics. He joined the Vols last year.
Maryville receiver Tyler Maples and Loudon linebacker Josh Hawkins left UT to pursue more playing time elsewhere.
The one in-state standout from 2007 is starting defensive end Chris Walker from Christian Brothers in Memphis.
The misses didn't just come from in-state players. Former coach Phillip Fulmer's last highly rated group began to show cracks early.
Four signees failed to qualify. That, however, paled in comparison to the attrition to come.
Nine signees left UT's program when it appeared they wouldn't play. Some, like Coleman and offensive lineman Darris Sawtelle, cited issues with former UT coach Lane Kiffin as one of the primary reasons for their departure.
Another, tailback Lennon Creer, seemed to have good talent but didn't believe he'd be a good fit for Kiffin's offense.
Kiffin's often-blunt assessment of his inherited players was coarse, not coaxing, which prompted several 2007 signees to leave UT.
Cornerback Brent Vinson was one of the most talented players signed in 2007 but never got along with Kiffin and left UT in December.
The 2007 class isn't all gloom and doom. Here are some contributors:
n Walker could be a standout player if healthy.
n Receiver Gerald Jones has produced, but injuries have kept him from reaching his recruiting reputation, which had him pegged as one of the top 100 prospects in the nation.
n Cooper is a solid fullback, but the Vols will likely play more two-tight end sets this fall with no fullback on the field.
n Cornerback Art Evans has had his ups and downs, but likely will start this season.
n Defensive end Ben Martin seems to have locked down a starting position, but hasn't grown into the player his recruiting pedigree suggested.
n Receiver Denarius Moore has speed but has had some key drops.
n Offensive lineman Cody Pope could start at center this season.
n Savion Frazier, who started in relief of Nick Reveiz when he suffered a knee injury in 2009, is also recovering from ACL surgery.
n Linebacker Daryl Vereen should provide depth this season.
Even when the Vols found solid starters in 2007, they were still snake bit.
Berry was a once-in-a-decade type of player but understandably cut his UT career short to enter the NFL draft a year early and was picked with the fifth overall selection by the Kansas City Chiefs. All that means he won't be helping the Vols this season.
That falls on the remaining members of UT's 2007 class. Most are seniors. Those that redshirted during their careers are juniors.
They still have some time to turn UT's program around - again.