David Climer: Tennessee Vols tackle top high school talent before it leaves state

University of Tennessee head coach Butch Jones greets fans to begin the Vol Walk before the game against Austin Peay at Neyland Stadium, Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

University of Tennessee head coach Butch Jones greets fans to begin the Vol Walk before the game against Austin Peay at Neyland Stadium, Saturday, August 31, 2013 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

I don’t know if it’s chain-link, picket or invisible, but Butch Jones is making good on his vow to build a fence around the state of Tennessee when it comes to recruiting.

The pledge of UT allegiance by Station Camp High wide receiver Josh Malone was the latest brick in the Vol. Seven of UT’s 33 commitments — a class that is ranked No. 2 in the nation by Rivals.com — are Tennessee residents. If offensive lineman Charles Mosley of Bruceton commits to the Vols as expected, it will be the most in-state players headed to UT since the 11-player collection in 2007.

The Vols didn’t get everybody. Vanderbilt landed Michael Sawyers of Ensworth, Jashon Robertson of MBA and Emmanuel Smith of Oakland. Alex Bars of MBA is bound for Notre Dame.

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Comments » 8

wigmeister writes:

We have so many excellent players here in E TN. A lot of the schools here have won multiple state championships (Maryville, Alcoa, Fulton,etc.). They didn't win those with lousy players. Good players and good coaching. We have let many get away. I hope CBJ is smarter than his predecessors in this regard.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

But the idiots pull for our competitors to win chanting SEC SEC SEC while we sit home watching bowl games and the BCS championship on TV. I bet the players in state not committing to the Vols want to go to a winning program like Vandy that is another bowl game. Who would have thought Vandy is now the more dominant SEC team in the state. They were recruiting players to a winning program while our recruits were not SEC caliber.
Next season will be worse with the schedule we have. You think Auburn picks up some 4 and 5 star recruits since winning the SEC. Keep chanting SEC SEC and pulling for Auburn in the NC game. Remember they ran the Vols off the field in Neyland. Scumbags!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to wigmeister:

We have so many excellent players here in E TN. A lot of the schools here have won multiple state championships (Maryville, Alcoa, Fulton,etc.). They didn't win those with lousy players. Good players and good coaching. We have let many get away. I hope CBJ is smarter than his predecessors in this regard.

I'm with you on this one, buddy! It may be true that Tennessee doesn't produce as many D-I prospects in any given year as several other states, but I would say you couldn't go bad wrong if you got the top five in the state every year. And, shucks, even some of those who may NOT have been in the top five could actually play. Patrick Willis and Randall Cobb come instantly to mind. I'm sure some of the guys from those good E. TN programs are too small or something to make it in the SEC, but they must have been doing SOMETHING right, and, call me old-fashioned, but I would rather have a bunch of guys who can PLAY, and want to play FOR you, no matter how big they are instead of physical specimens who you HOPE you can turn into real players.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I'm with you on this one, buddy! It may be true that Tennessee doesn't produce as many D-I prospects in any given year as several other states, but I would say you couldn't go bad wrong if you got the top five in the state every year. And, shucks, even some of those who may NOT have been in the top five could actually play. Patrick Willis and Randall Cobb come instantly to mind. I'm sure some of the guys from those good E. TN programs are too small or something to make it in the SEC, but they must have been doing SOMETHING right, and, call me old-fashioned, but I would rather have a bunch of guys who can PLAY, and want to play FOR you, no matter how big they are instead of physical specimens who you HOPE you can turn into real players.

Hindsight is 20/20 john. We whiffed on Willis and Cobb and Fulmer has said as much. We took Daniel Brooks over Willis simply because he was a 5***** prospect from a big school while Willis was from a 1A school. If Phil had talked to the people at Patrick's school who knew him best he would've understood that he was a great player with an unparalleled work ethic and an even better person. He didn't. End of story.

If we had told Cobb he'd get a shot at qb (as UK did), he would've been a Vol. We didn't. Again, end of story.

We're never going to get them all but with CBJ running the recruiting table, I believe we'll get most of the best Tennessee has to offer. I'll settle for that.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

But the idiots pull for our competitors to win chanting SEC SEC SEC while we sit home watching bowl games and the BCS championship on TV. I bet the players in state not committing to the Vols want to go to a winning program like Vandy that is another bowl game. Who would have thought Vandy is now the more dominant SEC team in the state. They were recruiting players to a winning program while our recruits were not SEC caliber.
Next season will be worse with the schedule we have. You think Auburn picks up some 4 and 5 star recruits since winning the SEC. Keep chanting SEC SEC and pulling for Auburn in the NC game. Remember they ran the Vols off the field in Neyland. Scumbags!

Just read your previous posts and learned you a very bitter individual. To you everybody is an Idiot or a Moron and nothing is good. Also found you to hate Dave Hart and worship Coach Fulmer. Until you let go of some of that hatred you're never going to be happy about anything. Try letting go of some of that hatred and looking for the positive aspects of your life. There may not be anythng positive in your life, and if that is the case, I truly feel sorry for you. A little less of the Idiot and Moron would make your posts sound more relevant and someone might actually listen to some of your rants. Quit hating and smile once in a while, you sound so depressed.

fannotsheep writes:

Hats off to Vanderbilt and to Coach Franklin. But I believe February is going to be the beginning of the end of Vandy's recent upper hand in the rivalry. If Jones can sign this many top players with a team that is this lousy, imagine what he will do in the future. Fulmer proved you can win with talent even if you aren't a genius at X's and O's. Jones may be a great coach in all areas. He certainly will have some ammunition coming in so we will all find out.

SummerfieldVol writes:

Of the 33 recruits we are going to sign ,how many are going to be starters and of the starters how many will be all SEC or all American? My point is if we get only three or four really good to great player. Then we have 29 that were just so so players and we sure can take a chance on four to six scholarships to Tennessee football players. I know coaches recruit players by the type offense they want to run and they say he just did not fit in our offense or defense. I would bet if you look at the roster of most teams, that roster would have a large number of players from that state.

fannotsheep writes:

in response to SummerfieldVol:

Of the 33 recruits we are going to sign ,how many are going to be starters and of the starters how many will be all SEC or all American? My point is if we get only three or four really good to great player. Then we have 29 that were just so so players and we sure can take a chance on four to six scholarships to Tennessee football players. I know coaches recruit players by the type offense they want to run and they say he just did not fit in our offense or defense. I would bet if you look at the roster of most teams, that roster would have a large number of players from that state.

I agree with getting the best in your state when you can. What I like is that not only did Jones rebuild relationships with high school coaches in the state, he also signed most of the best players in Tennessee. I would love to see us try some of the Fulton kids but I think he is out of scholarships.

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