No matter where he plays, Curt Maggitt turning heads

Curt Maggitt

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Curt Maggitt

Lance Thompson isn't the easiest Tennessee coach to impress.

During the past few decades, from stop to stop, Thompson has coached future NFL players. Recently at Alabama, he supervised a linebacking corps that included Rolando McClain, the eighth pick in the 2009 NFL draft, and Dont'a Hightower, an All-SEC first teamer.

None of that was able to temper Thompson's praise for UT freshman Curt Maggitt, who has equally wowed his teammates, other assistant coaches and even head coach Derek Dooley.

"I will tell you this," Thompson said Sunday at UT's media day at Neyland Stadium. "Everybody knew this kid was a special talent, but in 25 years of coaching, this kid is an elite freshman."

In two scrimmages, Maggitt has worked primarily with the first-team defense and hasn't wavered from the pressure. Following a three-tackle debut Tuesday, Maggitt was all over the field Saturday, but spent most of his time in the offense's backfield, as 4.5 of his six tackles went for a loss.

Maggitt saved his best for the last play of the scrimmage, peeling around the end to net his second sack of the day.

"He does have a skill set that is pretty incredible," linebackers coach Peter Sirmon said. "He's got length, he's got some fast-twitch, really good change of direction. The big thing with him having success right now is he's very into football, the game makes sense to him, he's getting aligned right, he's done a good job of not making the same mistake.

"His learning curve has been a lot more rapid than I anticipated."

Maggitt was a four-star outside linebacker at Dwyer High in West Palm Beach, Fla., but was listed as a defensive end when UT announced his signing in February. Because the Vols are low on depth at both of those positions, Maggitt has been asked to pull double duty.

He's all but penciled as the Vols' starting strongside linebacker, but will set up on the end of the defensive line during obvious passing downs in the Vols' nickel package.

"We're trying to use our players in any way we can to win a ball game," Sirmon said. "If there are situations where Curt needs to go rush the quarterback, then he's going to make everybody better. If he needs to go play some linebacker, he'll do that as well.

"(Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox) will handle when he plays and where he plays, so I just coach him up when I'm supposed to have him."

Thompson said "it's not hard stuff" when it comes to the decision of slotting Maggitt on the defensive line for obvious passing situations because of his "speed, quickness, agility and FBI — football intelligence." For a unit that mustered two sacks per game — a total that dipped significantly against SEC teams — and is currently low on size and bodies, Maggitt and the presence he is expected to provide will open up opportunities for players such as Jacques Smith, Malik Jackson and Ben Martin to make plays, Thompson said.

"You're going to have to have a plan for that guy, because he's a special guy coming off the edge," Thompson said. "Curt doesn't do things right 100 percent of the time. But his athleticism, his initial quickness and acceleration are really elite in college football."

Wilcox said he hasn't tried to make things easier for Maggitt or fellow freshman A.J. Johnson, who also has been impressive through the first two weeks of camp at outside linebacker and is in line for serious playing time.

Mistakes are common and there are moments when both players reaffirm their status as freshmen, but the positives have certainly outweighed the negatives.

"They've done a really good job. We're really happy with where they're going," Wilcox said. "We're pouring it all in.

"Just in terms of how quick they're picking it up and the way they're playing against some good players, against the ones, it's encouraging for us."

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Comments » 47

Huttdawg100 writes:

Dooley is bringing in some major talent. I don't understand how Florida let him get away. Their loss is our gain...

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

Dooley is bringing in some major talent. I don't understand how Florida let him get away. Their loss is our gain...

I agree with you, HD..I guess Florida didn't want or need him anyway(at least that is what we will be told)..

Smokey says this dude will make a serious impact this year..

rockytopjeff writes:

He and A.J. Johnson will bring back memories of Al Wilson and Raynoch Thompson. Mark my words, Johnson played his High School ball down here and is an absolute freak. These 2 are gonna be really special, the sky is the limit for these 2, GO VOLS!!!!

txvolsfan writes:

Need all the D talent we can get. I can't wait to get this year started, ready to see some hitting!!!
I really like Wilcox and Lance.
CDD has put together a pretty good staff.
GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

FWBVol writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

Dooley is bringing in some major talent. I don't understand how Florida let him get away. Their loss is our gain...

It seems I read somewhere that the kid wanted to leave the state to play college ball. I grew up in Florida, graduated from UT and live in Florida now (I wouldn't mind getting back to Tennessee) so I understand why some kids want a change of scenery or to get away from home and test their wings.

Whiskey_Wizard writes:

Pee

CoverOrange writes:

Has anyone ever run a 5-1-5 defense before?

mldillard0308 writes:

I know many people think tennessee will be "wide receiver U" bcause of the talented young guys like like Hunter, Darick, and incoming freshman Deathony Arnett but i think the name "linebacker U" may also be in the conversation with Johnson, Maggit, and the 4 star commit we got from Texas. Hope for the best

GBO

VolGrad writes:

in response to Whiskey_Wizard:

Pee

Restroom is three doors down on the right.

jerzeydevilvol writes:

in response to mldillard0308:

I know many people think tennessee will be "wide receiver U" bcause of the talented young guys like like Hunter, Darick, and incoming freshman Deathony Arnett but i think the name "linebacker U" may also be in the conversation with Johnson, Maggit, and the 4 star commit we got from Texas. Hope for the best

GBO

I think that Penn State holds the "linebacker U" down, however it would be nice to steal it from them. The way CLT brags them up, it might be a possibility.

MrBamSeydu writes:

Maggitt = Leonard Little pt. 2

LJS1984 writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

Dooley is bringing in some major talent. I don't understand how Florida let him get away. Their loss is our gain...

You talking about Dooley or the Maggitt? Florida is going to wish they had them both in a couple of seasons. I heard that UF isn't paying Weis much because Notre Dame is still paying his salary for the most part. That may have been before they watched him go through the training table buffet a couple of times?

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor want to run out of hut and tackle someone.....breathe...breathe.. Witch Doctor just like with Witch Doctor wife about to peak too soon. Witch Doctor need some Vol football.....breathe..pant..
Bones never lie.

GerryOP writes:

Nice to hear some good news from the Vols camp. It's been a long time coming.

Slystone writes:

Ladies and Gentleman... the Maggitt Brain

RockyTopinAlabubba writes:

This guy is a beast! Can't wait to see him busting some heads! GoVols!

tree_em_smokey writes:

This is VERY encouraging....gonna help me sleep tonight..haha! GBO!!!

8-4!

BruisedOrange writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Nice to hear some good news from the Vols camp. It's been a long time coming.

Too much news from the Witch Doctor's camp... long time coming there?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

What is up with the quick LB concept?

Will be great to watch.

GBO

clvolfan writes:

in response to jerzeydevilvol:

I think that Penn State holds the "linebacker U" down, however it would be nice to steal it from them. The way CLT brags them up, it might be a possibility.

UT was linebacker "U" years ago.
Put several in pro's that made a name
for themselves.

bigorangebolt writes:

It has been a long time with posiitve news coming out of UT! I cant wait to see Curt Maggitt and Jaques Smith going after the opponents! Go Big Orange!

www.craigsteronline.com
www.baseballchatters.com

FLORIDAGATORHATER writes:

Just remember, every SEC team runs articles on its players to get the fan base pumped up. Take all of this with a grain of salt. Until they prove it on the field it's all talk. I've learned not to get too excited until we beat Florida.

HtownVol writes:

in response to clvolfan:

UT was linebacker "U" years ago.
Put several in pro's that made a name
for themselves.

I give a slight edge to PSU for "LBU"

Lavar Arrington,Paul Pozlusni,Aaron Maybin(NFL bust, but great at PSU) I can go on all day with the NFL LBs PSU has developed.

Kevin Burnett is doing well but Jerod Mayo is the only VOL LB making a impact right now in the NFL (A pretty good impact as a Pro-Bowler).

It is close but if we pulled a list I believe PSU has the better names.

GO VOLS

give_him_6 writes:

I like the news coming out so far!!! Recruit'em and coach'em up!!!! Go Vols!!!

Down_The_Field writes:

maggitt and johnson = kiner and reynolds

The_Real_Orange writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

Dooley is bringing in some major talent. I don't understand how Florida let him get away. Their loss is our gain...

I think the Vols might have hit the timing perfect on him. Word was he kinda wanted to go out of state and UF changing coaches had to help too. No matter who is the coach....you can't get em all. Would have loved to have in Gville, hope nothing but the best for the kid.....cept for that 3rd game of the season :)

maciste54 writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Restroom is three doors down on the right.

Maybe drinking too much whiskey makes him wiz ! lol

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to HtownVol:

I give a slight edge to PSU for "LBU"

Lavar Arrington,Paul Pozlusni,Aaron Maybin(NFL bust, but great at PSU) I can go on all day with the NFL LBs PSU has developed.

Kevin Burnett is doing well but Jerod Mayo is the only VOL LB making a impact right now in the NFL (A pretty good impact as a Pro-Bowler).

It is close but if we pulled a list I believe PSU has the better names.

GO VOLS

Actually, TN and PSU are tied for the number of LBs drafted. Both schools have some fantastic history for LBs, but LBU is a toss up (for now).

I have listed what I could find for a comparison. Either way, hiped or not, I can't Wait for opening day.

On another note... Does anyone know where a guy stuck in longhorn alley can watch a decent SEC football game, preferably TN?

PSU Linebacker History

Dennis Onkotz 1967 - 1969
Jack Ham 1968 - 1969
Greg Buttle 1973 - 1975
Shane Conlan 1983 - 1986
Andre Collins 1986 - 1989
Brian Gelzheiser 1991 - 1994
Lavar Arrington 1997 - 1999
Brandon Short 1996 - 1999 .
Paul Posluszny 2003 - 2006
Dan Connor 2004 – 2007

UT Linebackers History

Kevin Burnett
Omar Gaither
Parys Haralson
Jarod Mayo
Marvin Mitchell
Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds
Raynoch Thompson
Eric Westmoreland
Al Wilson
Brian McCann

OrangeHeart writes:

in response to The_Real_Orange:

I think the Vols might have hit the timing perfect on him. Word was he kinda wanted to go out of state and UF changing coaches had to help too. No matter who is the coach....you can't get em all. Would have loved to have in Gville, hope nothing but the best for the kid.....cept for that 3rd game of the season :)

Good post. While I will disagree with you on how I want the 3rd game of the season to turn out, it is nice to see a fan of another team talk football instead of blowing smoke (as plenty of UT fans do too). You hit the nail on the head too. Doesn't matter what school or who the coach is, your not going to get them all. We lose a lot of talent out of Tennessee every year to one of our rivals. I'm glad we got this young man and hope he plays up to the potential he has shown.

Vol86 writes:

I know uva fans and I always tell them, "because you know their names it does not make them good."

CroKev writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"DB"? OK, slow down and read the article again - this time pronouncing all the words (especially the positions --> LB and DE) out loud...

Volunatic writes:

in response to Slystone:

Ladies and Gentleman... the Maggitt Brain

Dig the P-Funk reference.

Volunatic writes:

in response to CroKev:

"DB"? OK, slow down and read the article again - this time pronouncing all the words (especially the positions --> LB and DE) out loud...

Well stated, CroKev, but facts are irrelevant to trolls.

CroKev writes:

I hear he's really put some weight on since his 6'3" - 195 HS days. Anybody seen any new weight stats. I also wonder how he compares to USCe's all world freshman Jadeveon Clowney in terms of movement, speed, etc. I wonder if he's impressed them as much as Magitt has UT's staff...

Pompey writes:

in response to mldillard0308:

I know many people think tennessee will be "wide receiver U" bcause of the talented young guys like like Hunter, Darick, and incoming freshman Deathony Arnett but i think the name "linebacker U" may also be in the conversation with Johnson, Maggit, and the 4 star commit we got from Texas. Hope for the best

GBO

.....Tennessee was known as linebacker U during the Dickey years...Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds, Steve Kiner, and Knoxville's own Jackie Walker, to name a few, were the best linebackers in college football and "Papa Jo" Paterno said so after his running backs Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchel got their a--es kicked at Neyland...how well I remember, just writing about it gives me goose bumps.....

Vol43 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get 'em Naval. I really like what I see from CDD and staff. Wow, I think we've turned the corner and the sun is shining bright on Tennessee. All we need now is for the Witch Doctor to invite CSS over for dinner if you know what I mean. And GO VOLS. Because it's GREAT to be Tennessee VOL!

dgcarter43 writes:

I liked this guy's attitude from the beginning. He always has a smile on his face. It's obvious he loves the game. Next year will be UT's year to compete for a championship and I believe they will pull an upset or two this year.

RockyTop1_old writes:

in response to Pompey:

.....Tennessee was known as linebacker U during the Dickey years...Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds, Steve Kiner, and Knoxville's own Jackie Walker, to name a few, were the best linebackers in college football and "Papa Jo" Paterno said so after his running backs Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchel got their a--es kicked at Neyland...how well I remember, just writing about it gives me goose bumps.....

What memories when Joe Pa did not want to ever see Neyland stadium again!!! Those were GREAT days...let's get to back to that with our new recruits!! GBO!! VFL!!!

keviningeorgia writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Has anyone ever run a 5-1-5 defense before?

I've run a 6-1-4 before. In mine, it was a variation of 6-5 (goal line), with the safety up tighter, but deeper than the LB normally. In longer yardage situations, we loosened up to where it would be considered a 6-1-4.

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to Volunteer-Varmint:

Actually, TN and PSU are tied for the number of LBs drafted. Both schools have some fantastic history for LBs, but LBU is a toss up (for now).

I have listed what I could find for a comparison. Either way, hiped or not, I can't Wait for opening day.

On another note... Does anyone know where a guy stuck in longhorn alley can watch a decent SEC football game, preferably TN?

PSU Linebacker History

Dennis Onkotz 1967 - 1969
Jack Ham 1968 - 1969
Greg Buttle 1973 - 1975
Shane Conlan 1983 - 1986
Andre Collins 1986 - 1989
Brian Gelzheiser 1991 - 1994
Lavar Arrington 1997 - 1999
Brandon Short 1996 - 1999 .
Paul Posluszny 2003 - 2006
Dan Connor 2004 – 2007

UT Linebackers History

Kevin Burnett
Omar Gaither
Parys Haralson
Jarod Mayo
Marvin Mitchell
Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds
Raynoch Thompson
Eric Westmoreland
Al Wilson
Brian McCann

How's about adding Mike Lucci, Steve Kiner, Jamie Rotella and Jackie walker to that UT list. I'm guessing, though, that you missed some from PSU as well. Hopefully we'll add some more these next few years. GBO

SoFlaVol writes:

in response to Down_The_Field:

maggitt and johnson = kiner and reynolds

Now you're going old school. Remember the other outside linebacker who was only a sophomore when Kiner and Reynolds were seniors...Jackie Walker...another All American LB at UT. Before them came Paul Naumoff(sp) and Frank Emanuel.

SoFlaVol writes:

in response to RockyTop1_old:

What memories when Joe Pa did not want to ever see Neyland stadium again!!! Those were GREAT days...let's get to back to that with our new recruits!! GBO!! VFL!!!

I was there when Mitchel and Harris combined for I think negative 2 yards or something. Lydell Mitchell was being called Lie Down Mitchell because he didn't want to get hit again by the end of the game.

springtx_vol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, I would wonder about missed blocks too if Maggit were a DB. He is a hybrid OLB and DE. Others have it exactly right in that he may (repeat may) be a Leonard Little type. He is supposed to spending a lot of time in the backfield. Just think, if he can do this to our OL, what will he do against UF and their 4 new starters? I see a smashed Brantly coming up!

theoldbear writes:

in response to HtownVol:

I give a slight edge to PSU for "LBU"

Lavar Arrington,Paul Pozlusni,Aaron Maybin(NFL bust, but great at PSU) I can go on all day with the NFL LBs PSU has developed.

Kevin Burnett is doing well but Jerod Mayo is the only VOL LB making a impact right now in the NFL (A pretty good impact as a Pro-Bowler).

It is close but if we pulled a list I believe PSU has the better names.

GO VOLS

Jack Reynolds, Steve Kiner, Frank Emmanuel, Mike Stratton, Mike Lucci, Paul Naumoff, Ed Beard to add some more to your list.

I think all time NFL linebackers, it would be hard to top UT. Penn State may do it, but not by much.

oskie_score writes:

Although CLT did not coach Leonard Little, he too, turned heads and generated much enthusiasm as a Freshman before going on to have an All-American career at Tennessee. Appears the Vols have a special player in Curt Maggitt, time will tell. Stay healthy and good luck, CM!

ACWLY writes:

This is GOOD, real good!

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

How's about adding Mike Lucci, Steve Kiner, Jamie Rotella and Jackie walker to that UT list. I'm guessing, though, that you missed some from PSU as well. Hopefully we'll add some more these next few years. GBO

You're correct. Thanks for letting me know. Just goes to show how much you can't trust wikipedia. They didn't pop up on the list, but show up later in a different search. I still think UT will prevail. GBO

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