Coaches’ 2nd-year classes important

The third head coach in as many years, Derek Dooley, by default, received a relatively luxurious timeline to bring Tennessee football back to prominence.

The attrition and internal turnover provided a foundation shaky enough to divide the timeline to recovery by years, not months.

A little more than one year since he took the job, though, Dooley is mere weeks away from wrapping up a signing class that, as recent history in the SEC shows, could not only provide immediate contributions, but set the table for even loftier plateaus in the near future.

His counterparts in the SEC can attest: The majority of league coaches’ second signing classes came in with high expectations and delivered.

Some, such as Gene Chizik’s second class at Auburn and Urban Meyer’s second at Florida, had a direct impact on the team’s national championship run during the subsequent season. Others, such as Nick Saban’s at Alabama and Les Miles’ at LSU, led to a sizable upgrade and served as the foundation for a national title one year later.

The cupboard certainly was bare when Dooley took over, but it was just as depleted at some other schools before an abrupt BCS run.

“I wouldn’t call it a phenomenon,” ESPN national recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill said. “I would actually probably say it’s to be expected if you’re at a prominent program.”

UT’s current scouting service rankings, however, don’t indicate that it is following the direct path that Auburn, Alabama, LSU and Florida respectively followed to their national titles. Auburn’s, Florida’s and Alabama’s classes in their new coaches’ second year were all ranked in the top five among the major scouting services. Miles’ class of 2006 was ranked as the seventh-best by Rivals.com.

As it stands, UT’s class ranks 21st on Rivals.com, 23rd on ESPN.com and 24th on Scout.com.

“It’s obvious he has a very different outlook than the Lane Kiffins of the world,” 247sports.com recruiting analyst Barton Simmons said. “(Dooley is) definitely going after what they consider to be kids that are character kids, kids that are going to be hard-working members of the program rather than just going for the flash and the stars and the biggest names they can find.

“It’s a different approach and it’s one we’re going to find out very quickly sort of what works and what doesn’t.”

Kiffin’s first and only class at UT hovered near the top 10 on most scouting service rankings. With tailback David Oku’s announced departure Friday, six of the 22 members of that class either never made it to campus or no longer are with the team.

Dooley doesn’t have the luxury to miss with that many members in his 2011 class. After playing well below the 85 scholarship player maximum in 2010, the Vols likely will do so again in 2011, even if all 26 players who are eligible to be signed to a scholarship qualify and become contributing members of the team.

“You have to have good players, but you have to have the right players, too,” Luginbill said. “Not everybody fits with every program.

“There’s a heck of a lot of variables that go beyond just being a good player.”

There’s no comparison between the inherited wealth that the four second-year coaches who won national championships since 2000 had compared to what Dooley will bring back in 2011.

The 2000 Oklahoma team under Bob Stoops had a Walter Camp Award winner at quarterback, Josh Heupel, and two All-Americans on defense, Rocky Calmus and J.T. Thatcher. Ohio State in 2002 had a veteran quarterback, Craig Krenzel, and a defense loaded with upperclassmen who eventually became NFL regulars. Meyer had five veterans who made the All-SEC first team, and Chizik had an offensive line loaded with experience and a defense with six senior starters.

But all four of those teams also received immediate contributions from players in their coaches’ second signing class. Maurice Clarett and A.J. Hawk made an immediate impact with the Buckeyes; Percy Harvin was the SEC Freshman of the Year and Tim Tebow was a goal-line weapon with the Gators; and Cam Newton, this year’s Heisman trophy winner, and tailback Michael Dyer, who helped clinch the Tigers’ title with his 37-yard run near the end of the game, provided the backbone of Auburn’s prolific offense.

Alabama’s class of 2008, though, stands as one of the best since 2000, as future Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram, wide receiver Julio Jones, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, safety Mark Barron and defensive tackle Terrence Cody all were major contributors during the Crimson Tide’s 2009 title run.

“Where that Alabama program was coming from and where that class took it to was a quick turn,” Simmons said. “When you consider those factors, I definitely think that’s more of the impact-full classes we’ve seen in a while.”

Luginbill said that UT commitments such as linebacker A.J. Johnson (Gainesville, Ga.) and offensive guard Marcus Jackson (Vero Beach, Fla.) will be able to step in and help mold the foundation set by last year’s contributing freshmen, center James Stone, tackle Ja’Wuan James and wide receivers Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers. The Vols’ current highest-ranked player, wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett (Saginaw, Mich.), picked UT over a number of schools specifically so he could help bring the Vols back to BCS contention. Others, such as junior-college defensive tackle Maurice Couch (Edgewater, Fla.) and defensive backs Pat Martin (Greenville, S.C.), Justin Coleman (Brunswick, Ga.) and Brian Randolph (Marietta, Ga.), are expected to contend for immediate playing time.

Though the class currently lacks the high rankings of previous second-year success stories, its importance weighs just as heavily on the future of the program.

“This second class is definitely the first real reflection of a coaching staff,” Simmons said. “Not only because it’s a first full year, but also because it’s coming off a first full season.

“They’re recruiting off what they’ve done and the future as well.”

Andrew Gribble covers Tennessee football and recruiting. He may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble/

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Comments » 78

BerryFan_14 writes:

My clemson buddy is convinced that Marlin Lane is a vol. Anyone know any details?

thvol writes:

After reading this im convinced marlin will be wearing orange next year in k-ville!

http://smokiespost.blogspot.com/2011/...

Cldvols1 writes:

I understand CDD's method of recruiting "character" players but we've got to get some 4 and 5 star players as well!

Huttdawg100 writes:

Obviously, considering the lack of depth on the team, Dooley really can't afford to miss on anybody. It's imperative that Dooley and his staff get guys into the program that are going to go to class, stay out of trouble, and peform on the field. The base is there: lead by bray, Hunter, James, Stone and Neal. But we need playmakers on defense. Nick Fairley and Mt. Cody played vital roles in the success of auburn and bama. We need a DT that's going to disrupt offenses like those guys. I think Couch is that guy, but I'd love to see Gabe Wright and/or Mickey Johnson in orange.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to FirstAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well I believe you, but we will still be under manned. WE need to be able to sigh more than 26 to get back the the right amount of players. I hope DD gets some JC transfers that are hungry and ready to play.

volinlouisiana writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Well I believe you, but we will still be under manned. WE need to be able to sigh more than 26 to get back the the right amount of players. I hope DD gets some JC transfers that are hungry and ready to play.

We can't because we are restricted to the 26 by the NCAA. Don't worry we're in on some big, big names and we'll fill out this class nicely.

volinlouisiana writes:

We should finish in the top 15 while meeting positions of need (linemen heavy class and they usually aren't rated as high as skill position guys). We also have alot of character guys, so I'm really happy with the way it's going.

TommyJack writes:

Excellent article, Gribble.

kyletrktr writes:

in response to Cldvols1:

I understand CDD's method of recruiting "character" players but we've got to get some 4 and 5 star players as well!

we do have some 4 star players. and most 5 stars will look at recent success of the program, not trying to rebuild a program. We'll get 'em as they come though. some 5 stars are blowouts anyways.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

The character guys may not contribute as fast they they have a much higher probability of being part of the program for 4 years and will be major contributors their Jr and Snr years and will be the backbone of a much smarter and more enjoyable team to root for. Having said that once that backbone is in place we'll need some elite difference makers to put us over the top.

The article is misleading...Tennessee is in far worse shape then Florida, Auburn, Alabama were when they made their coaching changes.

dyerbey#281598 writes:

here is another link for Marlin Lane. http://www.mrsec.com/2011/01/vols-lea...

dgcarter43 writes:

Of the 10 or 11 visitors Tn. had this weekend, if they can land Marlin Lane, either Cam Clear on Antonio Richardson, Gabe Wright, then pick up Lamar Dawson, and a couple of surprises, they will have had an excellent recruiting class. It has been awfully quiet lately about Byron Moore and I thought UT was in good shape with him. As coach Dooley said, 2011 will be a younger group than last year but 2012 should be a very good year for UT football. Go Vols!!!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to volinlouisiana:

We can't because we are restricted to the 26 by the NCAA. Don't worry we're in on some big, big names and we'll fill out this class nicely.

Thats one of the biggest gripes I have with the ncaa.They are "supposed" to be there for the student athlete.In todays world of skyrocketing educational costs we have universities denied the option of providing young men with a full ride.Way to protect the student athlete there ncaa.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to bankofdad3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dont you have to have the star power for a championship team? Both Oregon and Auburn were loaded with 3-5 star players. Maybe 8 2-star between the two and they were the kickers, long snappers, etc.

jjsteel writes:

in response to Cldvols1:

I understand CDD's method of recruiting "character" players but we've got to get some 4 and 5 star players as well!

Marlin Lane is 4 star+

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Thats one of the biggest gripes I have with the ncaa.They are "supposed" to be there for the student athlete.In todays world of skyrocketing educational costs we have universities denied the option of providing young men with a full ride.Way to protect the student athlete there ncaa.

What ever gave you the idea the NCAA is interested in protecting the student athlete in the first place. Only interest the NCAA has is their own a--.

PUL4VOLS writes:

Thanks VolinDawgland, you are exactly right. The statement about the bare cupboard Dooley found is followed by, "but it was just as depleted at some other schools before an abrupt BCS run" is completely ridiculous. I defy Andrew Gribble to get the numbers and experience of other teams who supposedly began where Coach Dooley and our team were last year. There is no comparison in lack of numbers or experience. To even suggest other teams started in such disastrous shape is unthinkable. So naturally that means we have a steeper climb and that will take awhile. I hope we land more of the outstandging players, especially the ones who want to play and wear the orange and white.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Tennfan4075:

What ever gave you the idea the NCAA is interested in protecting the student athlete in the first place. Only interest the NCAA has is their own a--.

From the ncaa homepage.

"THE NCAA's CORE PURPOSE IS TO govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount."

They are not condoning a fair playingfield and certainly are not "integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education" by denying schollarships.

VOL1972 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Dont you have to have the star power for a championship team? Both Oregon and Auburn were loaded with 3-5 star players. Maybe 8 2-star between the two and they were the kickers, long snappers, etc.

Currently UT has 19 3 or 4 star players out of 20 commitments. The only 2 star commitment is a 327 lb DT. We could use some size at DT.

If you go back and look at recruiting classes for the last 8 to 10 years, you will not find much of a correlation between recruiting rankings and performance -- see Michigan and Miami.

There are more 3 star players who became all-america than 4 and 5 combined.

Point is, there is a lot more to building great football teams than the number of 4 and 5 star players you get. For now, I'll assume Dooley and his staff know what they're doing and look forward to the future.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Neither UA, AU, or UF were as depleted as us. AU had 25 seniors this year. We had how many...10?

CroKev writes:

in response to volinlouisiana:

We should finish in the top 15 while meeting positions of need (linemen heavy class and they usually aren't rated as high as skill position guys). We also have alot of character guys, so I'm really happy with the way it's going.

I've seen this comment before and it's just so over the top. SKILL PLAYERS ARE NOT PRONE TO GET HIGHER STAR RATINGS THAN LINEMEN! It's apples and oranges - you can have both excellent and rotten versions of each fruit. If you look at just the 16 five-star prospects on Rivals, 3 are linemen (defense & offense), 4 LB's, 4 RB's, 2 WR's, 2 DB's and 1 ATH. The top 2 recruits in the country are linemen (1 of them is from your neck of the woods - La'El Collins) and you don't see any running backs showing up until you get down to #8. Thus, there's no predisposition to judge skill players higher than those in the trenches. That doesn't even make sense!

volinlouisiana writes:

in response to dgcarter43:

Of the 10 or 11 visitors Tn. had this weekend, if they can land Marlin Lane, either Cam Clear on Antonio Richardson, Gabe Wright, then pick up Lamar Dawson, and a couple of surprises, they will have had an excellent recruiting class. It has been awfully quiet lately about Byron Moore and I thought UT was in good shape with him. As coach Dooley said, 2011 will be a younger group than last year but 2012 should be a very good year for UT football. Go Vols!!!

Here's how I hope it turns out:
1.) Tiny Richardson (priority #1 in whole class)
2.) Cam Clear (must keep top players, Tiny and Cam in state)
3.) Marlin Lane (last stud prospect left @ major pos. of need-given FSU's RB sit. should be a lock)
4.) Lamar Dawson (need starters at LB immediately)
5.) Gabe Wright (50/50 Auburn, I think we land him)
6.) Geraldo Orta (50/50 Clemson, I think we get him too)

I think Byron Moore will pick between us and the Canes and I think he'll be a Cane.
I actually think we finish up with something close to this and it will easily move us into the top 15.

volinlouisiana writes:

in response to CroKev:

I've seen this comment before and it's just so over the top. SKILL PLAYERS ARE NOT PRONE TO GET HIGHER STAR RATINGS THAN LINEMEN! It's apples and oranges - you can have both excellent and rotten versions of each fruit. If you look at just the 16 five-star prospects on Rivals, 3 are linemen (defense & offense), 4 LB's, 4 RB's, 2 WR's, 2 DB's and 1 ATH. The top 2 recruits in the country are linemen (1 of them is from your neck of the woods - La'El Collins) and you don't see any running backs showing up until you get down to #8. Thus, there's no predisposition to judge skill players higher than those in the trenches. That doesn't even make sense!

What you just said in your post is that it makes no sense that skill players tend to get higher star ratings than lineman, then you go on to say out of the top 16 in rivals a whopping 3 are lineman. Ok?

BigBadVol writes:

in response to Cldvols1:

I understand CDD's method of recruiting "character" players but we've got to get some 4 and 5 star players as well!

Why do you say this? 4 and 5 star players simply means they physically matured faster than their peers. Some of these 3 star players will get much bigger and stronger the first couple of years in college and they will catch up to the 5 star player. And in a lot of cases, they will become better players and as well as better people. JMHO.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to FormerMarine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Totally agree. It is coaching good players that makes them great. We need the coaching staff to turn these guys into players and I think we have that in the O Line and D line. Chaney can obviously run the Offense. We need stronger support of special teams and better scheme on D. Not a matter of poor players just not enough of them. Need depth

Vol13 writes:

"The article is misleading...Tennessee is in far worse shape then Florida, Auburn, Alabama were when they made their coaching changes."

I am glad that someone else noticed this as well. Fulmer did a TERRIBLE job his last 4-5 years in evaluating/recruiting players. The past two senior classes were both low in numbers and very undertalented when compared to the other Big V teams in the SEC. Fulmer signed a bevy of questionable character kids, academic risks, and overrated players. Kiffin came in and ran a bunch of these guys off who could not help the team and then he signed guys like Bryce Brown, Edwards, and Richardson - who bolstered the Rivals ranking - but are now completely removed from the program.

Also, to whoever said that linemen-heavy classes are NOT ranked lower, you are wrong. There may be 3 linemen and 2 LBs in the Top 15 or whatever on Rivals and they may be 4/5* players. But, the formula they use for rating them is different than it is for a stud QB or RB and they will be ranked lower when cumulatively adding up classes to rank them.

UT is doing exactly what we need to be doing. We need DEFENSE en masse right now and we need to continue to sprinkle in some skill players on offense. Tennessee will be a very competitive team in 2012 in the league and they will likely beat someone in 2011 that (per recruiting rankings) they should not.

BigOrange37825 writes:

Great info on all the recruits we want/have offered/signed here,http://tennessee.247sports.com/Recrui..., looks like we're going to be in great shape. This is a process and we're on the right track. Like the old saying "walk before you can run", we have to compete with the top teams first, which surprisingly we did thru 3 gtrs. with the top teams this year, FLA, ALA, OR. Even though we played short handed due to injuries and fewer players on scholarship. First compete, then challenge for championships. I am inspired by our team and our coaching staff, the future is very bright. GO BIG ORANGE

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

There are some very insightful posts on here this morning..It sounds like we will land Marlin Lane and a few others are excellent chances..Not so sure about Gabe Wright,volinlouisiana, but I do like your confidence and I HOPE YOU ARE RIGHT..Mickey Johnson is a more distinct possibilty than Wright but I know we have a chance with both of them...Tiny and Cam are excellent shots, Dawson we have an excellent shot, and Orta will be ALL VOL...Don't know much about Byron Moore.

Another poster said that this guy could be a surprise and huge get:

http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&...

He would probably put our class in the top 10 combined with the other guys.

volsnationalchamps writes:

I see a solid class coming in.Out of last yrs class which contibuted like no other class has here since the 90's and get players who can play and stay out of trouble we are building a championship team. It won't be this year like others has done, but I can see an 8 win season. We were in much worse shape than any of the teams listed above, Bama would be only team close to what we had gone through. I fully trust Dooley and staff in there decisions in recruiting. Look at his 1st priority last year Hunter, not to bad I would say. We should land some nice prospects in our last 6 and move up to a top 15 class. Bring it home guys!!! GO VOLS!!!

dgcarter43 writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

There are some very insightful posts on here this morning..It sounds like we will land Marlin Lane and a few others are excellent chances..Not so sure about Gabe Wright,volinlouisiana, but I do like your confidence and I HOPE YOU ARE RIGHT..Mickey Johnson is a more distinct possibilty than Wright but I know we have a chance with both of them...Tiny and Cam are excellent shots, Dawson we have an excellent shot, and Orta will be ALL VOL...Don't know much about Byron Moore.

Another poster said that this guy could be a surprise and huge get:

http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&...

He would probably put our class in the top 10 combined with the other guys.

I doubt we will land Curtis Grant. He hasn't shown much interest in UT. Tn. will be Lamar Dawson's last official visit which bodes well for the Vols.

Vol13 writes:

One thing you all need to remember is that being ranked #5 or #20 in recruiting can literally hinge on a handful of players. Earlier this recruiting season, UT got a commit from someone and jumped about 8 spots just due to ONE player. So, there is no need to worry that UT may be ranked #15 and 9th in the league. Rankings are subjective and when you start dissecting the Top 20 classes it is even more subjective. If we were signing a class full of 2* and NR guys with a few 3* types then we would be in trouble. Not so.

UTByrd writes:

in response to bankofdad3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm of the same point of view. Case in point: Green Bay's great quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. There was not one Division 1 school that offered him a scholarship coming out of high school.
Go VOLS!!!!!

volinlouisiana writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

There are some very insightful posts on here this morning..It sounds like we will land Marlin Lane and a few others are excellent chances..Not so sure about Gabe Wright,volinlouisiana, but I do like your confidence and I HOPE YOU ARE RIGHT..Mickey Johnson is a more distinct possibilty than Wright but I know we have a chance with both of them...Tiny and Cam are excellent shots, Dawson we have an excellent shot, and Orta will be ALL VOL...Don't know much about Byron Moore.

Another poster said that this guy could be a surprise and huge get:

http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&...

He would probably put our class in the top 10 combined with the other guys.

Yeah, I don't feel that great about Gabe Wright (50/50) but he would be a great get. We'll know more about Mickey Johnson after his visit this upcoming weekend, but he's a real academic risk, so he may be a sign and place (hard to get too excited about that at this stage). I feel good about Tiny, Cam, Lane, and Orta, after that who knows.

13ontheway writes:

in response to FormerMarine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Stars don't lie... Look at the last 10 National Champs and where thet were ranked in recruiting.It's not a myth. You have to have high ranked and high class people to compete. it takes top 10 classes to do this. It is a fact, look it up.

duke.moses#299699 writes:

in response to Cldvols1:

I understand CDD's method of recruiting "character" players but we've got to get some 4 and 5 star players as well!

I used to think the * rating meant something but I'm more inclined now to think it's the character and the coaches that turn the the kids. You can't teach heart and desire. The NFL is loaded with kids from schools many people don't hear of. Give me kids that have heart, character, and a want to be a Vol attitude and we will win, forgetting the * rating!! Examples (Oku, Bryce Brown) how are they helping??? Come on down Mr. Marlin Lane and be a part of CDD's new frontier!
GBO

AirForceVol2786 writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Why do you say this? 4 and 5 star players simply means they physically matured faster than their peers. Some of these 3 star players will get much bigger and stronger the first couple of years in college and they will catch up to the 5 star player. And in a lot of cases, they will become better players and as well as better people. JMHO.

I understand where you are coming from, but we need help NOW! Not in a few years. Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers were 4 and 5 stars and they did just as much to make this season a success than anyone. Its ok to fill the trenches with 3 stars because size and skill can be fixed. However, skill position is all about speed. I trust CDD but would like to see a few more big names.

JOHNWARD4EVER writes:

I still believe we have enough talent in state to field a great team every year,50/50 mix or better. 5 stars are impressive,but you have to wonder about their commitment to the program. We let great in state players escape every year,if they dont LOVE the orange so be it, but alot them in the past say they werent even recruited by us, we have to change that!!! We have seen alot of young supposedly great players flop, the star rating loses alot of its luster when the player gets in the SEC. I believe CDD has us headed in the right direction! BLEED ORANGE,GO VOLS!!!

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

Neither UA, AU, or UF were as depleted as us. AU had 25 seniors this year. We had how many...10?

We had 15, including two walk-ons. Next year is similar with 14 projected Srs, including two walk-ons. That number could go down if we have more attrition (Art Evans?).

The lack of upperclassmen in 2010 was unbelievable. We should have 25+ Seniors in 2013.

Vol13 writes:

In state loyalty in recruiting is somewhat of a myth. Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte are all very transient cities with thousands of families that have moved into the areas the last 20 years with little loyalty to their new home. Many other Southern areas have been infiltrated by manufacturing families moving South after a litany of automotive companies and suppliers have moved out of the northern states.

Go to a high school football or basketball game sometime and take a mental note of all the different college shirts and hats you see. It is a smorgasboard effect. Many "Tennessee" kids don't like the Vols because they were born elsewhere or their parents influence their loyalty elsewhere.

JOHNWARD4EVER writes:

in response to Vol13:

In state loyalty in recruiting is somewhat of a myth. Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte are all very transient cities with thousands of families that have moved into the areas the last 20 years with little loyalty to their new home. Many other Southern areas have been infiltrated by manufacturing families moving South after a litany of automotive companies and suppliers have moved out of the northern states.

Go to a high school football or basketball game sometime and take a mental note of all the different college shirts and hats you see. It is a smorgasboard effect. Many "Tennessee" kids don't like the Vols because they were born elsewhere or their parents influence their loyalty elsewhere.

Its a shame but you are right,I just hate it when a TN kid playing at UA,UF,LSU,UM,GA,UK,shines at that school and we didnt recruit him.

Vol13 writes:

Also, Fulmer created a gulf instate with a lot of high school coaches by overlooking local guys in order to sign some 5* kid in California. I know multiple kids who were Vol fans and starred elsewhere who would have helped UT at the time. But, they were not even offered a scholarship. These relationships are not going to be fixed overnight, although I think Dooley can certainly fix it. HS coaches even raved about the clinic that Kiffin's staff put together and about how organized it was and how informative.

Bama is probably the most territorial state in the SE. Not probably - it is. The Tide goes to great lengths to reach out instate to the HS coaches. This pays big dividends when marquee players come along. They are almost willed to Bama in most cases.

volfan8#549730 writes:

I would love to have another Shaun Ellis . I so enjoyed watching him play last night.

senatorgip#470888 writes:

Again i remind all my fellow Volunteer fans that the star rating system is not an exact science. Remember that Oregon did not finish in the Top 20 class rankings the last 4 out of 5 years. But they recruited players that fit their system. Also Auburn did not until recently begin to sign a lot of 4 and 5 star players. My last point is that. After you get the 4 and 5 star players you still have to be able to coach them. Coach Fulmer was in the Top 10 every year the last 10 years of his tenure. But guess what my friends, he didn't take any of those teams to a BCS game. And he lost 2 Peach Bowl Games to mediocre ACC teams. And to this day Fulmer refuses to take any responsibility for allowing our football program to fall. I rest my case to the jury.
Gipper2

JOHNWARD4EVER writes:

in response to Vol13:

Also, Fulmer created a gulf instate with a lot of high school coaches by overlooking local guys in order to sign some 5* kid in California. I know multiple kids who were Vol fans and starred elsewhere who would have helped UT at the time. But, they were not even offered a scholarship. These relationships are not going to be fixed overnight, although I think Dooley can certainly fix it. HS coaches even raved about the clinic that Kiffin's staff put together and about how organized it was and how informative.

Bama is probably the most territorial state in the SE. Not probably - it is. The Tide goes to great lengths to reach out instate to the HS coaches. This pays big dividends when marquee players come along. They are almost willed to Bama in most cases.

Totally agree, Fulmer killed our in-state recruiting, national recruiting is very important, stars are important but, HEART is of the utmost importance!!

senatorgip#470888 writes:

in response to AirForceVol2786:

I understand where you are coming from, but we need help NOW! Not in a few years. Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers were 4 and 5 stars and they did just as much to make this season a success than anyone. Its ok to fill the trenches with 3 stars because size and skill can be fixed. However, skill position is all about speed. I trust CDD but would like to see a few more big names.

Have you taken a good look at last years class that Coach Dooley signed. I believe there were maybe 8 or 9 4 star players and 2 5 star players. You are correct in your assessment that we need 4 and 5 star athletes like Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter. Guess what we have a bunch of them already on our team and have a few more coming in the next recruiting class. Remember that Tyler Bray was 4 star player, and another WR besides Hunter and Rogers was also rated 4 star. We also have at least two 4 Star players on the Offensive Line (James and Stone) along with couple of Defensive Linemen that were 4 star players. This years class we have Arnett (WR) out of Michigan and a bunch of 3 star Offensive Linemen that ultimately will be as critical to our sucess as the 4 and 5 star receivers and running backs. Sure we could use a 4 or 5 star running back but there are not a lot of those guys out there in this years class. I just hope you give Coach Dooley some time. I believe he knows what it takes to win, and i believe he is taking the right approach to coaching and also recruiting.

VolFaninDC writes:

in response to bankofdad3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and character doesn't necessarily equate to output any more than stars do

VolFaninDC writes:

in response to VOL1972:

Currently UT has 19 3 or 4 star players out of 20 commitments. The only 2 star commitment is a 327 lb DT. We could use some size at DT.

If you go back and look at recruiting classes for the last 8 to 10 years, you will not find much of a correlation between recruiting rankings and performance -- see Michigan and Miami.

There are more 3 star players who became all-america than 4 and 5 combined.

Point is, there is a lot more to building great football teams than the number of 4 and 5 star players you get. For now, I'll assume Dooley and his staff know what they're doing and look forward to the future.

I will say there certainly is more than the number of 4 and 5 star players. However, if it weren't the MOST important thing, all the programs you generally see at the top of the recruiting lists wouldn't be the ones also at the top of their conference and AP rankings, and going after all these players. Four and five star players can have as much character as anyone.

JOHNWARD4EVER writes:

Great post,Its a trickle-up effect,pee-wee ball through high school,its gotta be easier to coach heart than stars!

gnm53108 writes:

Recruiting classes get there final grade(the only one that matters)on their contrabution to the team.Coach Dooley's first class,which were freshmen last year,did as much or more than any other class we had.

JOHNWARD4EVER writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Recruiting classes get there final grade(the only one that matters)on their contrabution to the team.Coach Dooley's first class,which were freshmen last year,did as much or more than any other class we had.

Very true, If the freshmen have it, play them, we really dont have much choice right now.

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