Derek Dooley: Roster numbers have made signing class 'moving target'

Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley talks to the media during a news conference on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley talks to the media during a news conference on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.

Derek Dooley on mid-year attrition for the Vols

Derek Dooley called the SEC-mandated maximum of 25 players per signing class a "moving target."

For Tennessee heading into the 2012 season, the same can be said for the NCAA-mandated maximum of 85 players on scholarship.

Citing various reasons that Dooley declined to discuss specifically Friday, a number of Vols are no longer with the program.

Along with wide receivers DeAnthony Arnett and Matt Milton, whose respective transfers were already reported, linebacker Robert Nelson, defensive tackle Arthur Jeffery, quarterback Nash Nance and linebacker Martaze Jackson are off the team, Dooley said. Offensive lineman JerQuari Schofield is still in school, but not currently part of the team because of academic issues.

The latest dose of anticipated attrition gives the Vols more freedom to stock up their 2012 signing class without having heavy anxiety about a potential numbers crunch over the summer.

"Some of it is family, some of it academic pursuits, some of it opportunity to play at other places. We wish them well," Dooley said at a Neyland Stadium news conference. "We support them. We never like anybody to leave our program, but sometimes it's in their best interest and it's a good mutual parting of ways.

"We move on."

Among the departed players, only Arnett, who transferred to Michigan State, was a significant contributor.

Jackson and Jeffery each saw the field once this season in UT's homecoming victory over Middle Tennessee State. Neither Nelson, who along with Milton, cornerback C.J. Fleming and walk-on Nick Branum, nor Nance played a down in 2011.

Milton caught one pass for 12 yards in two years with the Vols.

Branum, a former wide receiver/cornerback at Catholic, is no longer with the team.

Schofield, who started five games as a redshirt freshman in 2010, lost a preseason battle for the opening at left guard and saw the field for just two games in 2011.

With Friday's commitment from Georgia Military College defensive tackle Daniel McCullers, the Vols' 2012 class stands at 19. Counting cornerback Tino Thomas, who grayshirted the 2011 season and enrolled earlier this week, the Vols have room for five more commitments.

Health Report: Safety Brent Brewer and wide receiver Justin Hunter, both of whom respectively tore an anterior cruciate ligament in one of their knees during the 2011 season, received glowing status updates from Dooley.

Brewer, Dooley said, is "eight weeks out" from surgery, off his crutches and "doing great." Brewer is not anticipated to be ready for spring football.

Hunter, meanwhile, is running, Dooley said. When Hunter underwent surgery last September, UT announced that he should be available for spring football.

"He is right on track and doing great," Dooley said.

Center Alex Bullard, defensive end Marlon Walls, defensive tackle Allan Carson and linebacker Greg King continue to be on track to return for spring football after their respective, offseason knee surgeries, Dooley said.

Nothing has changed with the status of linebacker Curt Maggitt, defensive back Prentiss Waggner and defensive tackle Daniel Hood. All three players will be limited this spring because of their respective offseason shoulder surgeries.

"They are in slings and will be in slings for a little while," Dooley said. "They are going to be non-contact in the spring, which obviously for Dan Hood, there is not much more you can do. For a guy like Prentiss, you can probably do a lot because of the position."

Linebacker Herman Lathers, who missed all of the 2011 season because of a broken ankle, is "doing good" and is "full go," Dooley said.

Meet and Greet: The Vols have met twice as a team since the beginning of spring semester, Dooley said.

The Vols' winter conditioning program — which will be tweaked to add a "little competitive component," Dooley said — begins Tuesday.

"The kids came back Wednesday with just a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm," Dooley said. "I told them, like I said a week ago, I am as excited as I have ever been about an offseason."

Carolina Connection: Dooley's three new assistants — defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri, running backs coach Jay Graham and offensive line coach Sam Pittman — could all contribute to a UT recruiting renaissance in North Carolina.

Graham grew up in the state and recruited it heavily during his time at South Carolina. Pittman's last coaching stop was at the University of North Carolina, where he spent the previous five years. Sunseri worked with the NFL's Carolina Panthers from 2002-08.

The Vols have not signed a player from North Carolina since 2008, when it brought in linebacker Austin Johnson and E.J. Abrams-Ward.

"We haven't done as good of a job as we probably could have," Dooley said. "We've done a good job in some areas and haven't done as good a job in others, but certainly given how close it is and the history of the great players from those states, yeah, we need to do a little better job in there."

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Comments » 73

VolGrad writes:

Need another DT or two. Reel 'em in.

OwensboroVol writes:

It seems like Fulmer and Company use to sign at least 1-2 from North and South Carolina every year. A lot of good Players. Albert Haynesworth was a great recruit from over there. His attitude was a lot better as a College Player than it has been as a Pro. Anyway, We need to upgrade recruiting all over the South.

SignalMtnVol writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

It seems like Fulmer and Company use to sign at least 1-2 from North and South Carolina every year. A lot of good Players. Albert Haynesworth was a great recruit from over there. His attitude was a lot better as a College Player than it has been as a Pro. Anyway, We need to upgrade recruiting all over the South.

Not really, as far as the Haynesworth comment. He was belligerent and played when he wanted to, and was just as apt to lay down at UT as he is in the NFL.

ClemCash writes:

Hopefully he signs some decent kids so whoever is coaching the team in 2013 has something to work with.

CroKev writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Need another DT or two. Reel 'em in.

I wonder how tight Sunseri is with Goldman (5*)? McCullers (4*) and O'Brien (4*) are going to be great additions (McCullers counts as 2 people so there's 3 DL right there!). We're right in the hunt for Kirven (4*) and Tomlinson (4*) so either one of those (or both) would be rock solid.

Mo Couch showed he can dominate. Hood will be healthy. We should be in a lot better shape with depth, which will help our second half production. We'll miss Malik but we'll definitely have the size on the d. line that we've been missing for a long time. Let's not forget the DE's we're looking at as well.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

It seems like Fulmer and Company use to sign at least 1-2 from North and South Carolina every year. A lot of good Players. Albert Haynesworth was a great recruit from over there. His attitude was a lot better as a College Player than it has been as a Pro. Anyway, We need to upgrade recruiting all over the South.

If he had HALF the fire that Big John Henderson had, he would have been All-Pro every season! Instead, he is called Fat Albert!

jobrando#216494 writes:

I'm hoping Sal can turn Goldman....We'll see

jimr07 writes:

in response to ClemCash:

Hopefully he signs some decent kids so whoever is coaching the team in 2013 has something to work with.

How much did Clay Travis pay you to come on and make that stupid statement? Sounds just like him.

volinlm writes:

Sounds like CDD learned from Saban. Clear the roster to make room for more quality players. Hope it works.

DalTexVol writes:

in response to jimr07:

How much did Clay Travis pay you to come on and make that stupid statement? Sounds just like him.

Who is this Clay Travis guy that everyone talks about? I live in Dallas so I don't know. Is he a booster?

dislikethemtrolls writes:

in response to ClemCash:

Hopefully he signs some decent kids so whoever is coaching the team in 2013 has something to work with.

Idiot!!

dislikethemtrolls writes:

in response to DalTexVol:

Who is this Clay Travis guy that everyone talks about? I live in Dallas so I don't know. Is he a booster?

Texas Vol here too DalTexVol. He's in Nashville from what I understand. Heard he's a Vandy guy. Been ripping Tennessee lately. They says he's trying to be like Finebaum(or however you spell it, lol)

Olcrow writes:

in response to SignalMtnVol:

Not really, as far as the Haynesworth comment. He was belligerent and played when he wanted to, and was just as apt to lay down at UT as he is in the NFL.

Right,I only remember him stepping up when we played South Carolina and probably the reason we out recruited them back then they were down.I give Spurrier credit,I didn't think they would ever be as competitive as they are.Lou Holtz couldn't get it done and stil hates on us.

Olcrow writes:

in response to dislikethemtrolls:

Texas Vol here too DalTexVol. He's in Nashville from what I understand. Heard he's a Vandy guy. Been ripping Tennessee lately. They says he's trying to be like Finebaum(or however you spell it, lol)

He's based outta Nashville but a big Bammer fan and has a very jealous man crush for Derek Dooley.

volforeverandever writes:

in response to ClemCash:

Hopefully he signs some decent kids so whoever is coaching the team in 2013 has something to work with.

Coach Dooley will be our coach in 2013.

FLVOL_79 writes:

in response to volforeverandever:

Coach Dooley will be our coach in 2013.

I hope you tebowed after writing that.

KCHS63 writes:

Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall when Coach Saban talks candidly to his friends about Paul Finebaum? He's such a no-nonsense kinda guy you know it must really creep him out the way Finebaum drools on him.

I loved one exchange on F-Bomb last week. In this soothing, icky voice he asked callers "Do you think Saban is in the same rarified air with the Bear now?" Some level headed Alabama fan (yes, there are some:) called and said "Sure, as soon as he wins three national championships in two different decades." Finebaum is such a tool....and so light in the loafers.

LJS1984 writes:

in response to DalTexVol:

Who is this Clay Travis guy that everyone talks about? I live in Dallas so I don't know. Is he a booster?

Clay Travis is from Nashville, he attended George Washington University, then he graduated from Law School at Vanderbilt. He's a HUGE TENNESSEE FAN however, his granddad played for Tennessee under General Neyland in the 30's his last name was Fox. Travis has written a book that I enjoyed called Dixieland Delight where he went to a game at all SEC schools in one season. He also wrote a book called On Rocky Top in which he was granted unlimited access to the Tennessee program during Fulmer's last season in 2008. I own both books and can attest that Travis is a Tennessee fan. Like us all, sometimes he's overly critical of the program. I recommend checking out both of his books if you want to know the real Clay Travis. It was hard for me to put Dixieland Delight down and On Rocky Top isn't bad reading either. He's definetly not a fan of anybody but Tennessee, as previously mentioned he just speaks his mind at times.

murrayvol writes:

in response to jimr07:

How much did Clay Travis pay you to come on and make that stupid statement? Sounds just like him.

Clay could never say that in just one sentence.

murrayvol writes:

in response to DalTexVol:

Who is this Clay Travis guy that everyone talks about? I live in Dallas so I don't know. Is he a booster?

Many refer to him as a vociferous doucheter.

He was a Tennessee fan til Fulmer was canned.

SGTSpurge writes:

Ah...Clay Travis...from Out Kick the Coverage. Yep, I've read his stuff. He may well be a Tennessee fan, but he definitely lacks originality and he uses a lot of hyperbole to stir things up. He does write a good article now and then, unlike KNS' JA.

As to the stuff from this presser here, I'm not worried about any of it. It's nice to see CDD being gracious in letting these guys go and do their thing, but I still think that CDD was right for the way he handled the whole Arnett situation. He stuck to his guns until he could gather all the facts and make a good decision.

Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free writes:

in response to volforeverandever:

Coach Dooley will be our coach in 2013.

The rest of the SEC sure hopes so. Especially after he reels in the 6th or 7th best recruiting class in the......SEC.

The mediocrity shall continue.

NottaVol writes:

Well Doofus, you need shut up and do what you need to do to improve your situation. Did Dave Hart approve this statement?

seaplane#216536 writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

If he had HALF the fire that Big John Henderson had, he would have been All-Pro every season! Instead, he is called Fat Albert!

"Rich Fat Albert"

Couchdummy writes:

I thought Austin Johnson was in his senior year in 2011 and has graduated? Not certain he was in the 2008 signing class.

thevoice writes:

Dooley had perhaps his best press conference this past week. I wonder if he's being coached by Hart. No military analogies, no nature channel analogies, and no BS.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

5 more recruits! Make them good ones! I wonder where that puts our total roster number? If we can stay healthy we should be pretty darn tough next year.

Go Big Orange!

fprex writes:

Good luck with the McCullers kid. Has had problems with conditioning for years...correct that and you have a difference-maker.

Word is that Dooley is recruiting Deion Bonner. LOL Snag him and it will say everything about Dooley. (google that kid)

RashaadSalabeb writes:

The Vols Rock! The players rock and the coaches rock! 2012 things will be better.....you'll see!

Go Vols!

utfpmd writes:

in response to DalTexVol:

Who is this Clay Travis guy that everyone talks about? I live in Dallas so I don't know. Is he a booster?

Think of him as the local court jester. Entertaining at times, but no one takes him seriously.

Pompey writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

It seems like Fulmer and Company use to sign at least 1-2 from North and South Carolina every year. A lot of good Players. Albert Haynesworth was a great recruit from over there. His attitude was a lot better as a College Player than it has been as a Pro. Anyway, We need to upgrade recruiting all over the South.

....York county, SC and Mecklenburg county, NC produce as many four and five star football players as the state of Tennessee....as a resident I am concerned that UT has lost its presents here...!

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

in response to dislikethemtrolls:

Texas Vol here too DalTexVol. He's in Nashville from what I understand. Heard he's a Vandy guy. Been ripping Tennessee lately. They says he's trying to be like Finebaum(or however you spell it, lol)

Clay Travis is on 104.5 "The Zone" in Nashville...he's pretty cocky, and it usually takes him 10 mins to ask a guest a question. I guess he just likes listening to his own voice. He certainly has no problem talking down to the callers that call in, not that I've ever been one of them. I don't listen that often, because he's too arrogant for me.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to Pompey:

....York county, SC and Mecklenburg county, NC produce as many four and five star football players as the state of Tennessee....as a resident I am concerned that UT has lost its presents here...!

You mean there were presents there for UT? How about presence? It takes a little time to regain our position in the lives of out of state youngsters.

GONAVY writes:

in response to dislikethemtrolls:

Texas Vol here too DalTexVol. He's in Nashville from what I understand. Heard he's a Vandy guy. Been ripping Tennessee lately. They says he's trying to be like Finebaum(or however you spell it, lol)

Clay Travis is a UT graduate, believe an attorney and part of a very popular 3 hour talk show group/host on a Nashville sports talk program. He is not a "Vanderbilt guy". He has a deep love for his Vols and is disgusted with the shape of the athletic program status and especially the Dooley hire. I listen to him a lot; he is passionate in how he feels. He's actually a very bright guy and dislikes "homers", thus the reason for some of these posters who constantly attack him.

volpreacher writes:

in response to ClemCash:

Hopefully he signs some decent kids so whoever is coaching the team in 2013 has something to work with.

That would be Coach Derek Dooley.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to Pompey:

....York county, SC and Mecklenburg county, NC produce as many four and five star football players as the state of Tennessee....as a resident I am concerned that UT has lost its presents here...!

So, as a resident of NC, do you think cancelling the NC game and losing to NC in a bowl has affected potential recruits perception of the UT program?

RemembertheAlamo writes:

in response to DalTexVol:

Who is this Clay Travis guy that everyone talks about? I live in Dallas so I don't know. Is he a booster?

Clay has a blog that he uses to blast UT everyday. It is outkickthecoverage.com I cannot wait until he has to eat his words. Go Vols!

1963VOLS writes:

right now we are 5th in the sec in recruiting.we just landed a 4 star ath today,was a lsu recruit.
accordind to rivals.com

willblitz4bacon writes:

in response to Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free:

The rest of the SEC sure hopes so. Especially after he reels in the 6th or 7th best recruiting class in the......SEC.

The mediocrity shall continue.

YOU SUCK!

pcorange writes:

Looked at Scout a little while ago. They have UT listed at 24th nationally in recruiting right now with 8 SEC schools ahead of us. Maybe with some of the coaching dust settled, CDD and CSS can sway some commitments this direction. GBO!

orangeman1 writes:

in response to pcorange:

Looked at Scout a little while ago. They have UT listed at 24th nationally in recruiting right now with 8 SEC schools ahead of us. Maybe with some of the coaching dust settled, CDD and CSS can sway some commitments this direction. GBO!

According to Dooley, we only have 5 more schollys to offer so I hope they are good ones.

VOLSFORLIFE writes:

in response to 1963VOLS:

right now we are 5th in the sec in recruiting.we just landed a 4 star ath today,was a lsu recruit.
accordind to rivals.com

Will be playing running back. A big need for 2012 and should contribute right away.

volforeverandever writes:

Dooley is putting a very nice class together.We are getting better players and addressing some needs.Hope we close strong.Poor Walt hopes we don`t so he can tell us some more phooey about how great Fulmer was.

oskie_score writes:

Da'Vante Bourque committed to Tennessee.

Ttown writes:

So how many does cdd got to win to stay what do u all think we have some good stuff on both sides of the ball

BolivrBob writes:

Plus the two great DL commits, this past week

GloryDays writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Need another DT or two. Reel 'em in.

How about DT's Korren Kirven and Justin Shanks.

volforeverandever writes:

in response to Ttown:

So how many does cdd got to win to stay what do u all think we have some good stuff on both sides of the ball

Most AD`s with Hart included say they don`t have a number.They look a many things.But one thing I have noticed is they most of the time give them 4 classes and see how the coach does with his players and how much improvement they made.Hart will give him a chance.Dooley has had 2 classes with the 3rd coming.As long as Hart is convinced he is makeing progress Dooley will be our coach.Also remember Dooley has a contract with pretty good guaranteed money and don`t think that it won`t matter,it will.This class is addressing many needs and building depth.I believe we will be better.

GloryDays writes:

in response to Ttown:

So how many does cdd got to win to stay what do u all think we have some good stuff on both sides of the ball

8-4 would be nice.

lahvolman2 writes:

in response to Pompey:

....York county, SC and Mecklenburg county, NC produce as many four and five star football players as the state of Tennessee....as a resident I am concerned that UT has lost its presents here...!

We're sorry... we didn't realize we left any PRESENTS there...BWAHAHAHAHAHA

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