John Adams: Recruiting reveals state of UT program

John Adams

Derek Dooley addresses Deion Bonner's 2011 arrest

Tennessee signed 21 football recruits Wednesday. If you want to know what that means to the future of UT football, you have come to the wrong place.

But I can venture an opinion on what the class says about the current state of UT football. The opinion was formulated by recognizing a handful of recruiting hits and taking note of a couple of misses.

Bottom line: UT is more desperate than prosperous.

First, the misses — the most telling of which were linebacker commitment Otha Peters, and defensive tackle Korren Kirven, who entered the stretch run of recruiting seemingly torn between UT and Virginia Tech.

Peters opted for Arkansas the day before signing. Kirven backed off the Vols and Hokies for national champion Alabama.

Those were not-so-subtle reminders that when you have suffered through three losing seasons in the last four years, you can be as vulnerable in recruiting battles with more successful programs as you are on the field.

Losing long-standing linebacker commitment Dalton Santos to Texas wasn't as significant. He grew up a Texas fan. When the Longhorns finally expressed interest, he couldn't resist.

But neither Peters nor Kirven had a childhood infatuation with the program they chose. They were out-of-state signees who picked top-10 teams over a team that just went 5-7 and lost six assistant coaches.

As for the hits, the standout signee is obvious. His name is Deion Bonner, a cornerback from Columbus, Ga.

I don't know Bonner's 40 time or vertical jump. I just know he was charged with a crime while visiting Georgia's campus.

How's that for standing out?

He stands out further since second-year coach Derek Dooley and his staff have talked so much about recruiting "high-character" players in rebuilding UT's program.

"When I say bringing in high character (players), that doesn't mean I'm never going to bring in guys who have made mistakes," Dooley said at Wednesday's media gathering. "Because I've made as many mistakes in my life as anybody.

"We did a lot of diligence on the situation. Deion was incredibly truthful and incredibly remorseful."

No matter what glowing attributes the Vols might have uncovered in their recruitment of Bonner, does that outweigh a police report? He was one of three people arrested by University of Georgia police following the theft of iPods and iPhones from the unsecured lockers of seven Georgia players.

Recruiting interest in Bonner waned elsewhere after the incident, but not at UT, reminding you that the pursuit of high-character players sounds better in theory than in the reality of back-to-back losing seasons.

Dooley needs a talent upgrade. Fast. So he's willing to take a chance on a player who can't resist the temptation of an unlocked locker but might be a lock-down corner.

Given UT's immediate needs, junior college players are more alluring than ever, which brings up encouraging news for UT fans. When you check out the resumes of this class, three of the most impressive are from the junior college ranks.

Never mind what defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore accomplished at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. I remember him as a backup lineman at Alabama. I also remember that he looked like an Alabama lineman. That's high praise for a UT signee.

Daniel McCullers looks like a former Alabama lineman. McCullers, who last played at Georgia Military Institute, is in the Terrence Cody weight division at 6-foot-6, 380 pounds. As the 3-4 alignment becomes more prominent in UT's defensive plans, it's helpful to have someone towering over center who, as Dooley put it, is like "two people."

Cordarrelle Patterson is a consensus five-star wide receiver coming to a program that can benefit enormously from a five-star anybody. So even if Patterson falters at the major-college level, his signing flashes neon bright for now — just as Kenny O'Neal's once did.

UT signed O'Neal as a junior college five-star wide receiver five years ago. He had two career catches at Tennessee.

But the Vols can't think about potential recruiting busts now. They have to hope that Patterson plays up to his billing, McCullers becomes the next Mt. Cody, and Sentimore plays like what he once was — an Alabama lineman.

That's the state of UT football.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 198

1963VOLS writes:

what a dumba@#,could have had #1 recruiting class and would stile wine.go away.

volaholic45 writes:

Sounds like an Alabama troll.

volaholic45 writes:

We must have had a pretty good day - JA's Vol-hater slip is showing.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Negative sells. Nothing else here.

murrayvol writes:

Geez John, I was feeling almost not too bad til I read this.

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

Scumbag. Absolute Scumbag. Adams, you wouldn't know a good recruiting class if it bit you in the butt. I know I should probably ignore a moron of your caliber, I must admit though, it's difficult.

With employees of your quality, KNS is almost up to the same level of journalistic integrity as "The Onion."

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to 1963VOLS:

what a dumba@#,could have had #1 recruiting class and would stile wine.go away.

Nice comment. Learn to type.

alvol writes:

Excuse me if I don't comment. Not comment worthy. Oh, did I just comment?

Prostar writes:

Way to take your shot John. Ok, so we've got issues that cause potential recruits to sign elsewhere. We may not have a top 10 signing class but we're better than the last class signed by Fulmer (35th) and he was an entrenched coach without the staff turnover. So we lost a couple of commits, LSU lost several and they won the conference and played for the Nat'l title. I still give our coaches high praise for the job they did.

Voluvr writes:

What's wrong now John?

nocleats writes:

Adams will not let up until he and his beat writers are actually allowed to attend and witness a Tennessee football practice or scrimmage, or until he is allowed to talk to and interview asst. coaches as well. Till then he will continue to barb and jab.

rubbervol writes:

Go Big Orange or go away.
This is Tennessee

Its_Goooood writes:

Adams you make me want to puke!!! Just like the comics who have no material without profanity ,you would have nothing to write about if not for putting UT down. For God's sakes ,if you are a journalist and editor quit taking the easy road and write about something that takes a little research. YEA YEA YEA we know KY beat TN. That was in November 2011 this is February 2012. Remember your chickens always come home to roost. Someday you will regret how you sold out integrity just for circulations sake. JERK!!!

ctownvol writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

dvols writes:

what JA is saying is that the state of the TN program coincides with the state of the KNS....

sports journalist talent that is...

ctownvol writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

n2thecheckerboards2 writes:

John, it's official, you have joined the likes of Clay Travis which isn't a very good thing. Congrats.

azorange writes:

in response to rubbervol:

Go Big Orange or go away.
This is Tennessee

Dude, that's a great slogan, "Go Big Orange or Go Away! This is Tennessee." That should be on a t-shirt. Certainly better than "Opportunity Nowhere." Nicely done!

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

then players must know you

vorangel writes:

I can't get excited about JUCOs. There's no guarantee they can hack it, even at UT. Patterson did allow Dooley to close with one positive and kept us in the Top 25 of most of the team rankings.
How do you not sign a single OL?
The running backs are a collection of parts. We need a superstar.
LB is a concern, obviously. Sunseri is off to a slow start for such a sterling recruiter. The OL coach from NC also didn't do us any good for this class.
A lot of Tennessee kids signed elsewhere. Is that a sign of poor evaluations? At least there are six new sets of eyes on the coaching staff.
Sorry. that's the way I see it.

mrvol2u writes:

This is why the best articles on this site come from the sister paper in Chattanooga.

Munsterlander writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

jsmithnga#207674 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, Dooley admitted he has made mistakes too; apparently Adams never made any.

Couchdummy writes:

in response to nocleats:

Adams will not let up until he and his beat writers are actually allowed to attend and witness a Tennessee football practice or scrimmage, or until he is allowed to talk to and interview asst. coaches as well. Till then he will continue to barb and jab.

I know you are joking, but there is likely some truth to what you say. I blame Dooley for taking such a postion on making players and asst coaches available to the local media.

VolnTex writes:

Lots of people putting down John Adams. Not a lot of people with anything to back it up. When facts are lacking, just yell louder. The truth hurts. If you say he doesn't know what he's talking about, then I guess the ones who say TN barely got a top 20 class don't either.

ctownvol writes:

John Adams posts this junk, but my comment gets removed?

fearthehound writes:

Good God. does this guy ever quit? Is there nothing anybody can do about this jerk? I see he has been relegated to writing a lot about women's basketball recently. Please assign this jerk to that beat permanently. He is a Vol HATER and has been for years. I'm almost positive half of the troll postings are from this clown under assumed screen names.

Volfan1 writes:

John Adams gives the KNS the credibility & status of the National Enquirer. And that's on a good day.

I, too, like the slogan, "Go Big Orange or go away. This is Tennessee."

Geaux back to LSU John.

Go_Big_O writes:

I usually don't get on board with all the Adams bashers. I have even defended him a time or two, but this article is just pitiful!

I see it as nothing more than an attempt to stir folks up by proposing a totally preposterous opinion. Stop being a negative Nancy! Mr. Adams, it must really suck to be you.

TennesseeV3 writes:

This guy is unbelievable in his negativity for the Vols. I rarely read his articles because I know what is coming. John, your sarcasm makes me sick to my stomach. You need to write for a web-site and or paper that isn't affiliated with a program, but one that is just a general sports blog. You show bias in the opposite manner that one would expect from a Tennessee blog. I literally can't stand you.

dvols writes:

in response to vorangel:

I can't get excited about JUCOs. There's no guarantee they can hack it, even at UT. Patterson did allow Dooley to close with one positive and kept us in the Top 25 of most of the team rankings.
How do you not sign a single OL?
The running backs are a collection of parts. We need a superstar.
LB is a concern, obviously. Sunseri is off to a slow start for such a sterling recruiter. The OL coach from NC also didn't do us any good for this class.
A lot of Tennessee kids signed elsewhere. Is that a sign of poor evaluations? At least there are six new sets of eyes on the coaching staff.
Sorry. that's the way I see it.

wasting time here...but oh well

juco dale carter was a juco

TN got 18 OL on scholly

RUnning backs......bryce brown

LB....correct...needed one of those guys

TN kids sign elswhere....blame it on high school coaches!!!!!

TennesseeV3 writes:

I'd also like to point out the fact that you are the only one that feels like you need to put you name in your headline. Do you truly believe that you are that great a writer?

Honestly though, I appreciate it. Because if it weren't there, I would be angered entirely too many times a week from reading your phooey.

So even though it makes you look like a tool, thanks for the warning.

BluezVol writes:

Losing the two linebackers makes perfect sense to me. UT has 3 linebackers coming back of which 2 are very good sophomores. TX is home to one and Arky needs a defense in the biggest sort of way to fully contend - plus its closer to home. Soooo, early playing time almost guaranteed and closer to home. This sort of switcharoo is a result of less than in-state talent we've heard/talked about for years. O lineman? Please - we redshirted 3 from last year's class and all were highly sought after plus the cubbard is full with upperclassmen (Jrs and Soph). I'm excited about the receivers - those three (Hunter, Rogers, Patterson) have the ability to match up with the best UT trio of all time - Harper, Pickens and A Morgan. My only regret is no big time running back and for that I simply do not understand.

givehim6 writes:

Spoken like a true troll from the trollmaster him self.

tvol328 writes:

Fairly new to reading KNS - this guy is a complete idiot, why don't you go cover Bama or somewhere else - you are pathetic as a sports writer!

TommyJack writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Geez John, I was feeling almost not too bad til I read this.

Adams is trying to stay relevant. And failing.

VolunteerLifer writes:

The problem with this column isn't that it isn't true or just that it is incredibly negative (which it is), it's just that it is so easy to write. It didn't take any work to write this, no digging of information, no looking behind the scenes for the real story of what's going on here. Adams puts out columns that make me think he must work part-time at the paper. I wish he would write a column some time that tells us something we don't yet know. I keep reading him on the hope that I'll get some useful information, but it never pans out. I think I've seen enough to conclude that it isn't worth my time to read him.

LJS1984 writes:

I GUESS SINCE CAM NEWTON got in all the trouble he got in at Florida that he wasn't worth the time or effort at Auburn? He sure didn't turn out great did he John?

In John's world, Cam Newton would have never had the opportunity to redeem himself. John must have not made any mistakes in his life. I'm sure Coach Dooley will welcome you with open arms next time you want a story. That's kind of like biting the hand that feeds you isn't it?

TennesseeV3 writes:

IGNORE!

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

in response to 1963VOLS:

what a dumba@#,could have had #1 recruiting class and would stile wine.go away.

I do not like the sportswriter one bit.

But he is correct here, and you are showing your rear...and look very ignorant.

UT is very, very bad in a lot of areas. The Board of Trustees, Hamilton and an inept, uncaring group of leadership screwed the pooch.

And this class is poor unless we allow thugs to come to UT. Remember...you can't spell THUG with "U.T." under Derrick Doodley.

He, Martin and the rest of the Bammers and Hamilton hires need to be sent way the phooey far away.

VolfanClinton writes:

Boy the truth hurts !! Dooley has made a mess with all the assistant coaches leaving as well as good recruits..Go out and get Dooleys replacement ASAP !!

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

in response to volaholic45:

Sounds like an Alabama troll.

Not many folks are as pro-Vols as I, but Adams gets it.

A lot of naive twits with their rears in the air and heads in the sand want to believe UT athletics is in good shape.

If that were true, we would not have been the weak sister that the strong abused by taking the best recruits on signing day.

And good coaches would not have bolted the month before signing day, had they believed Doodley, Hart and this phooey-headed administration were capable of competing at the high levels of the SEC.

Face it---those in charge have not been minding the store. And the robbers came and got the goods.

And it is going to get worse before it gets better, because Doodley has another year on his contract...

If somebody sees Hamilton on the street,
tell him thanks for wasting about 40-million dollars of OUR money through his ineptitude.

oldster writes:

Have to give it to John Adams, he could make a guy feel depressed about having a son after years of trying. He needs to publish under his Indial name, Wet Blanket.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to ctownvol:

John Adams posts this junk, but my comment gets removed?

No kidding. This kind of Adams article is why I cannot post as FirstAndGoal anymore on this blog. Because you cannot express your opinion without getting banned. Ridiculous.

GO VOLS!!... despite Adams.

oldster writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I guess you prove that everyone has a right to an opinion, even if it is incredibly asinine.

deputy658 writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't know who makes me want to puke more , you or John Adams. GO away and find another team to cheer for, or I mean to bad mouth.GO VOLS!!!!!!!!

oldster writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Seems like we heard the same kind of phooey when Kiffin signed a kid who had a juvenile rap from when he was 13, despite the fact that the kid had lived an exemplary life since allowing himself to be led astray by an older relative and having 100% support from everyone who knew him. BTW: That kid has had zero trouble at UT and has performed beyond expectations. Also, please recall the Nylo Silvan incident? Adams screamed for Fulmer to throw Silvan off the team when some girl charged him with rape. Fulmer finaly caved. Later, after Silvan had lost his senior year and any hope of impressing the pros, the charges were dropped because the girl had lied. No apologies from Adams, the sanctimonious jerk. God, were I only so perfect as John Adams that I could throw so many stones.

oldster writes:

in response to dvols:

what JA is saying is that the state of the TN program coincides with the state of the KNS....

sports journalist talent that is...

Now,now, there is talent at KNS. None of it happens to reside in or with John Adams.

orange_eVOLution writes:

Thanks for taking a nice shot on NSD, Adams. What a jerk.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to orange_eVOLution:

Thanks for taking a nice shot on NSD, Adams. What a jerk.

Again... what a jerk.

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