A road map for getting back: Study shows Vols' fall from glory years

Peerless Price celebrates and yells to the crowd as head coach Phil Fulmer talks to reporters on the award stand Monday night.  1999. Michael Patrick/News-Sentinel staff.

Photo by Michael Patrick

Peerless Price celebrates and yells to the crowd as head coach Phil Fulmer talks to reporters on the award stand Monday night. 1999. Michael Patrick/News-Sentinel staff.

Nearly 20 years ago, Phillip Fulmer was putting the finishing touches on the first class that he had built from start to finish as football coach at Tennessee. The group of players he signed in February 1994, headlined by quarterback Peyton Manning, was touted as the best in the nation.

"Other schools did well, of course, but no one else was in Tennessee's league," wrote the Charlotte Observer.

Nearly the entire class would letter. Five would earn All-SEC honors. Seven would be selected in the NFL draft. The group would lead the Vols to the SEC title in 1997, lay the groundwork for the national title a year later and play a part in one of the most dominant runs of the 1990s.

In four days, Butch Jones will sign his first class at Tennessee, and although the Vols hope to land some high-profile targets, it won't be ranked among the best in the nation — or even close to it. Three consecutive losing seasons and three coaching changes in just more than four years have taken their toll on a program that once competed with anyone on the recruiting trail.

So how does Tennessee get back to the days when elite recruiting classes were routine? It's one thing to talk about how a new coach must elevate the level of recruiting; it's another to determine how to do it.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Florida defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, right, pressures Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton during a game  on, Sept. 20, 2008. Crompton's hometown is Waynesville, N.C.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press Florida defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, right, pressures Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton during a game on, Sept. 20, 2008. Crompton's hometown is Waynesville, N.C.

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart wanted some answers to provide to prospective candidates, so last November he asked senior associate AD David Blackburn to review the football program, top to bottom, from 20 years ago to the present.

"Let's look at what happened and do an internal, honest assessment A to Z," Hart said. "Let's look at recruiting. Did we get away from areas we were successful?"

UT shared some of the study's conclusions with the News Sentinel, but we wanted to replicate the data for ourselves.

The News Sentinel created a database of every player signed by the Vols since 1994 — 434 players from 28 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. We looked at the 19 signing classes that span the coaching tenures of Fulmer, Lane Kiffin and, most recently, Derek Dooley.

Like Hart, we wanted to determine what had changed and what could be fixed, particularly with a new coaching staff starting from a clean slate.

"It was a very interesting and revealing picture," Hart said.

Jones got the study in a binder given him by Hart and Blackburn.

For Jones and the two administrators, the report validated what they had long thought: Tennessee is not bereft of talent, and in fact the Vols ignore their home state at their own peril.

"I think it just solidified my thoughts moreso than anything," Jones said of the study. "I've always really respected the high school football that's been played here in Tennessee."

Both Jones and Hart have hammered home that theme at every opportunity during a frantic recruiting season that began when Jones was hired Dec. 7.

"This program was built with in-state players," Hart said. "We do need to put borders around our state again. We do need to develop those relationships again and get back to keeping those kids at the flagship institution, the University of Tennessee."

Conclusions are similar

The News Sentinel's version of the data doesn't match UT's study exactly, even though we both started our timeline in 1994, which was Fulmer's first full year signing a class with his imprint and also Blackburn's first year as a football staff member.

Although the sample size of 434 players was large, many of the individual geographic areas had smaller numbers, so even one minor difference in methodology could shift the percentages dramatically.

UT also was cautious about sharing conclusions that might reflect negatively on important geographic regions.

"Make sure you emphasize that they're all important to us," Blackburn said.

Even so, most of our overarching conclusions were similar: The Carolinas are a little-recognized historic strength; the program has an impressive track record of luring top players from California; and the state of Tennessee has produced an impressive crop of players, including 19 NFL draft picks in a 14-year span.

But there were cautionary tales, too.

Tennessee's increased reliance on Florida since 2005 has paid few dividends, compared to other states.

And while East Tennessee and West Tennessee have produced more NFL talent than the Middle section of the state, those areas also have far higher wash-out rates, indicating that coaches must constantly weigh the risks and rewards of even local recruits.

Finally, the numbers show signing classes battered by attrition from the string of coaching changes that began when Fulmer was fired in 2008.

In a Jan. 1, 1993, photograph, Phillip Fulmer takes the field for the first time as University of Tennessee head football coach at the Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, Fla. The 17th ranked Vols defeated Boston College 38-23 in Fulmer's first game after replacing Johnny Majors.(Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Photo by KNS Archive, Knoxville News Sentinel

In a Jan. 1, 1993, photograph, Phillip Fulmer takes the field for the first time as University of Tennessee head football coach at the Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, Fla. The 17th ranked Vols defeated Boston College 38-23 in Fulmer's first game after replacing Johnny Majors.(Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

"When we were rolling in the 1990s, a lot of those programs were down, which meant we could go into their backyard to recruit," Hart said. "They were rotating coaches, for the most part. Now they've acquired what we want: They've acquired stability."

Jones has a map

Jones and his assistant coaches, most of whom have been together for years, offer that promise of stability. And by all accounts, Jones has already started the kind of relationship-building that will pay off in 2014, when he signs his first class that is not hurriedly thrown together during a coaching change.

What can we expect from Jones as a recruiter? He'll certainly use his Midwestern roots for top prospects in familiar haunts like Ohio and Michigan. He also has experience recruiting Florida and Tennessee, which was only a few hours away from his old home base in Cincinnati. In an interview with the News Sentinel in December, Jones also mentioned Atlanta and the Carolinas as being important points of emphasis.

"But first and foremost, it's going to start with Tennessee," he said.

For as interesting as some of the points of data in the study are, the numbers don't tell the full story. Tennessee's success hinges on the quality of the recruits — their ability more so than their hometown.

Up until the last decade, the Vols were able to occasionally sneak into places like Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Ohio or Texas and steal a top prospect. Many of those sources have dried up, and when Tennessee does leave its home base, its forced to compete for prospects that other teams have already passed on.

"In some cases, maybe we weren't getting the elite players from those states. In other cases, maybe we drifted away from those areas," Hart said.

Jones' job is to go find the elite recruits that used to beat down Tennessee's door.

This study gives him a map to get there.

---

About this project

News Sentinel reporter Evan Woodbery used players taken from Tennessee’s official National Signing Day releases. When a player signed more than once — for example, failed to qualify one year and re-signed the next — the latest year was counted. For determining letterman status, the News Sentinel used Tennessee’s official records. All-SEC status was for first-team selection only, also using records maintained by UT. The News Sentinel maintained separate distinctions for those who were selected in the NFL draft (74 players) and for those who played in the NFL or were members of active roster for at least one season (99 players). Active players were not used in calculating the percentage of signees drafted or in the NFL. Some states have very small sample sizes and caution should be used before drawing conclusions.

Related story:

How to build Tennessee's recuiting

Database:

A map of Tennessee football recruiting since 1994

Evan Woodbery's blog

View a full list of charts used in this project on Evan Woodbery's blog, "Evan's Eleven"

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat

Get Copyright Permissions © 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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Comments » 55

FearlessFreep writes:

First and foremost, the Vols have to keep the best players in the state. Then and only then they can augment with top kids in Carolina and Georgia.

budd#207344 writes:

All the data is real pretty but the bottom line is winning programs attract better recruits. And then it takes coaching to make the recruits into productive players. It was easy to recruit N&S Carolina when you weren't competing against Spurrier and the new found attraction to football in the ACC. Also Georgia was much easier to recruit when Goff and Donnan were there. Same with LA before Saban/Miles. Take the best recruits you can land and coach them up. Win some big games and then you will get some better recruits. Coach them up and the process will continue.

SeaBassHauling writes:

The JR. Camps will begin the in state process....bringing back explayers and making them feel wanted was also important..! Butch and company getting out and mending fences with in state schools/coaches is huge....! They're doing all the right things in the beginning that we all should be proud of...! Now we need to act like fans that are 100 percent behind the coaches and team...! NO Negative post.....!!!

GloryDays writes:

I think there are many factors that have caused the decline of Tennessee football. A lot of it happened when Doug Dickey retired. Mike Hamilton really dropped the ball. The way Fulmer was fired. The hiring of sleezy Kiffin. Then the hiring of incompatent Dooley, he was not qualified to coach or recruit. Hamilton spent his time trying to extract as much money from the Tennessee fans as possible.
Much of the blame has to go on Jimmy Cheek, he made it harder for top players to be admitted, he took away the support system for student athletes, did away with athletic dorms, got his grubby paws in the athletic departments money.
As Phillip Fulmer said, "recruiting is the lifeblood", of a winning college football team. I think Butch Jones knows that, and will spend 365 days a year doing it. Rome wasn't built in a day and it will take coach Jones some time to get this thing going. Go Big Orange!

VolzsFan writes:

UTC cannot win in 1AA with the best kids in the state. Just look at the numbers and you will see how many BCS level D1 signees come from the other SEC states vs. Tenn. Let that garbage go. UT won from 1990-2008 by taking players from other states that the big time in state schools wanted. You take about 5-7 in state kids on a good year and that is it.

Remember, they where the glory years becuase they where glory years. That is not the Tenn norm by any stretch. To ask anyone to duplicate the greatest era in UT football is just setting every coach that comes in here up to fail. Get it through those heads. IT WILL NEVER BE THAT WAY AGAIN AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR DECADES .......IF EVER.

Enjoy the change.

Tennball writes:

What this article does not address is the importance of the FAN-base in the process of rebuilding a program. We are now taken over by those determined to live in the past. Phil is gone and like us, no one else has chosen him to lead their program. Now we must focus on the future to be successful. Want a roadmap to focus on a total program? Watch the attached story.

http://www.diehardsport.com/2012/11/1...

BigVolinCarolina writes:

The reality is that the decline of UT football has been a collective effort. Coach Fulmer got complacent his last few seasons, Lane Kiffin was a disastrous hire on a number of levels, and Derek Dooley was overmatched in taking the UT job.

UT got fat, lazy and out-of-shape. Whenever that happens, it's always incredibly hard to get back into shape.

And a little help from key players in the University administration would sure be nice.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

Graphs, charts, powerpoints. Sounds like a sales conference. It's going to take some luck, hard recruiting, and beating somebody news worthy for this program to get jump started. The details in the charts and graphs are nice, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened.The question now is can this new staff get it done? We'll find out in 3 years.

RockVegas writes:

How I miss those days.Tennessee should have run CPF off long before he got fired first off.You have to get at least 10 top state players if your going by the size of the Volunteer state.Back then we were the first one's with indoor practice fields and all that,we should have been winning championships on a regular but people make one good run and get comfortable and alow other schools to catch up and their alums started to spend more money as the social media picked up more kids learned about the state school in state and wanted to stay close to home and go to school.The whole time Tennessee will be on t.v every Saturday finding a way to give up the big games that everybody was watching.We just lost that fire along the way,then you go out and get mediocre coaches that doesn't help either before you know it,your looking up at everybody.I don't know if CBJ is SEC material but I love his fire,and that's what TENNESSEE needs someone that can rally the troops,when people like you they will do almost anything.People didn't like CLK but that team thought they had a chance of winning every ballgame,and they did fight most of the games they played,just saying...GBO

bkgunter writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

UTC cannot win in 1AA with the best kids in the state. Just look at the numbers and you will see how many BCS level D1 signees come from the other SEC states vs. Tenn. Let that garbage go. UT won from 1990-2008 by taking players from other states that the big time in state schools wanted. You take about 5-7 in state kids on a good year and that is it.

Remember, they where the glory years becuase they where glory years. That is not the Tenn norm by any stretch. To ask anyone to duplicate the greatest era in UT football is just setting every coach that comes in here up to fail. Get it through those heads. IT WILL NEVER BE THAT WAY AGAIN AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR DECADES .......IF EVER.

Enjoy the change.

Did you even look at the data? Most of those great recruiting years under Fulmer were exactly as you described: 5 to 9 of the best in state kids and 1-3 of the top prospects from several states. And don't refer to these kids as garbage. And most programs never have an era like UT enjoyed, so keep your piss-in-the cheerios sentiments to yourself. And your MORONIC all caps too.

arkyvol writes:

those are the crummiest graphs i've ever seen.

p.s.: i was an economics major; i've seen my share of graphs.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

You don't need a stinking graph/chart to know UT has fallen on hard times..CBJ, please be the answer to our prayers..GBO!!

underthehill writes:

Jones and his staff appear to be doing the best they can in a very difficult situation.in my opinion..this report is nonsense and definitely should not have been made 2 days before national signing day..

RunningWithTheVols writes:

Forget about benchmarking ourselves vs 1990's UT recruiting. Those days are gone. Does Apple benchmark itself against yesteryear's competitor, Dell Computer, or against Google and Samsung?

Benchmark ourselves against our recruiting foes and be better, everyday, with every recruit.

movol53 writes:

What I've never understood is the fact that the state of Tennessee does not produce many D 1 players each year as per the sports media.
Yet other schools come to Tennessee and recruit well. Almost every SEC school has one or two players from Tenn on its roster; Bama has one or two that are seniors or Juniors who have made an impact at Bama. Yes Memphis is closer to the Mississippi schools, Ark, LA, ALA, etc than Knoxville but Jones must start at home in ALL of Tennessee. Tennessee has always recruited well nationally so build with Tennessee boys and get the others nationally. We've got to have those that WANT to play for Tennessee. Look at how many 4 and 5 stars actually make it to the NFL and look at the number of 3 stars that make it. The lower ranked players are not afraid to work hard whereas many of the higher ranked players think that it should be "handed to them". Recruit Tennessee every other SEC team does; usually getting a successful recruit. GO VOLS!!!

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to amyinsparta:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Great Post!! I agree 100%...it's a new era, let's work hard and get things headed back in the right direction! It won't happen overnight, but it will happen. Keep the faith, and GBO!!!!

JonGrudensAgent writes:

When you go from a coach that is too arrogant to think he needs to recruit in state(see the Willis being passed over by Fulmer story circulating) to one who left the state in the dead of the night to another coach who was too lazy, arrogant, and unmotivated to go to any of the schools in the state, it's not hard to see why in state recruiting has faltered.

There simply isn't enough in state talent to completely build a program in TN, but there is plenty to consistently put nice core groups of classes together with it. No one can sell this program to out of state players like a kid whose life long dream was to wear Orange.

Jones needs to start off by winning the in state battles. Losing to the Vandy's of the world on or off the field is unacceptable.

Then there needs to be a reestablishment of a foothold in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. UT is never going to pull the best players from these states but their leftovers can help fill a solid roster. Look at Charlie Strong and Louisville as an example. WVU made a living under Doc Holliday a few years ago in Florida.

I think he needs to use Graham to put the UT flag down in North Carolina and up state South Carolina. There is plenty of talent in those states to sustain multiple programs in the ACC. The lure of being an SEC school and reasonable proximity to Knoxville should be giving plenty of recruits in those areas to think about.

Before Jones worries about recruiting nationally per Fulmer's advice, he needs to recruit regionally.

Jones is going to have to be relentless in recruiting to undo the mess made by Fulmer, Kiffin, and Dooley. Remains to be seen if he is up to the task.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to GloryDays:

I think there are many factors that have caused the decline of Tennessee football. A lot of it happened when Doug Dickey retired. Mike Hamilton really dropped the ball. The way Fulmer was fired. The hiring of sleezy Kiffin. Then the hiring of incompatent Dooley, he was not qualified to coach or recruit. Hamilton spent his time trying to extract as much money from the Tennessee fans as possible.
Much of the blame has to go on Jimmy Cheek, he made it harder for top players to be admitted, he took away the support system for student athletes, did away with athletic dorms, got his grubby paws in the athletic departments money.
As Phillip Fulmer said, "recruiting is the lifeblood", of a winning college football team. I think Butch Jones knows that, and will spend 365 days a year doing it. Rome wasn't built in a day and it will take coach Jones some time to get this thing going. Go Big Orange!

Yes, the firing of Fulmer was not handled well.

He should have been let go in 2005 instead of 2008.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Yes, the firing of Fulmer was not handled well.

He should have been let go in 2005 instead of 2008.

Once in a while you actually say something funny..LMAO!!

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to movol53:

What I've never understood is the fact that the state of Tennessee does not produce many D 1 players each year as per the sports media.
Yet other schools come to Tennessee and recruit well. Almost every SEC school has one or two players from Tenn on its roster; Bama has one or two that are seniors or Juniors who have made an impact at Bama. Yes Memphis is closer to the Mississippi schools, Ark, LA, ALA, etc than Knoxville but Jones must start at home in ALL of Tennessee. Tennessee has always recruited well nationally so build with Tennessee boys and get the others nationally. We've got to have those that WANT to play for Tennessee. Look at how many 4 and 5 stars actually make it to the NFL and look at the number of 3 stars that make it. The lower ranked players are not afraid to work hard whereas many of the higher ranked players think that it should be "handed to them". Recruit Tennessee every other SEC team does; usually getting a successful recruit. GO VOLS!!!

Regarding Barrett Jones for Alabama, he was a legacy recruit and third generation player for them. That is one player in particular who the Vols never had a shot with.

It's the laws of averages that more 3 star players will make the NFL than 4 or 5 star players, there are simply many more of them.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Once in a while you actually say something funny..LMAO!!

Thanks.

UTvols33 writes:

Thanks govolsxtra for providing more fodder for all these supposed UT "fans," and I use the term loosely, who are insistent on living in the past.

movol53 writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

When you go from a coach that is too arrogant to think he needs to recruit in state(see the Willis being passed over by Fulmer story circulating) to one who left the state in the dead of the night to another coach who was too lazy, arrogant, and unmotivated to go to any of the schools in the state, it's not hard to see why in state recruiting has faltered.

There simply isn't enough in state talent to completely build a program in TN, but there is plenty to consistently put nice core groups of classes together with it. No one can sell this program to out of state players like a kid whose life long dream was to wear Orange.

Jones needs to start off by winning the in state battles. Losing to the Vandy's of the world on or off the field is unacceptable.

Then there needs to be a reestablishment of a foothold in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. UT is never going to pull the best players from these states but their leftovers can help fill a solid roster. Look at Charlie Strong and Louisville as an example. WVU made a living under Doc Holliday a few years ago in Florida.

I think he needs to use Graham to put the UT flag down in North Carolina and up state South Carolina. There is plenty of talent in those states to sustain multiple programs in the ACC. The lure of being an SEC school and reasonable proximity to Knoxville should be giving plenty of recruits in those areas to think about.

Before Jones worries about recruiting nationally per Fulmer's advice, he needs to recruit regionally.

Jones is going to have to be relentless in recruiting to undo the mess made by Fulmer, Kiffin, and Dooley. Remains to be seen if he is up to the task.

I agree with your post. Just what I was thinking. The state of Tennessee can provide a nucleus of players and we will have to go else where to get the others; as we have done in the past. And there should have been no legacy player going to Bama. Means we didn't do our job in the past. Oh I know we will miss a few but other teams recruiting Tennessee is just not acceptable without a fight; just like we will go into some other states and take some good players.

VolGrad writes:

Just wanna say...,

Go Vols! This is Big Orange Country!!!

Moesart writes:

TN sank because Fulmer coasted for five years while most of the rest of the SEC passed TN up. Fulmer had to be forced out, and Hamilton, the moron responsible for that mess, made two more disaster hires for HC. It's all quite simple.

VOLStrong writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

UTC cannot win in 1AA with the best kids in the state. Just look at the numbers and you will see how many BCS level D1 signees come from the other SEC states vs. Tenn. Let that garbage go. UT won from 1990-2008 by taking players from other states that the big time in state schools wanted. You take about 5-7 in state kids on a good year and that is it.

Remember, they where the glory years becuase they where glory years. That is not the Tenn norm by any stretch. To ask anyone to duplicate the greatest era in UT football is just setting every coach that comes in here up to fail. Get it through those heads. IT WILL NEVER BE THAT WAY AGAIN AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR DECADES .......IF EVER.

Enjoy the change.

I totally disagree. You are obviously not truly a real Vols fan; certainly not a fan of TN HS football.

What I'd like to see is the data base that was not developed...the one shown in this article is what the Vols DID over the last 19 years...I'd like to see what they did NOT do, and that is land some of the great TN HS football prospects that have gone to other schools, e.g. Patrick Ramsey to USCalifornia, Golden Tate to Notre Dame, Patrick Willis and Michael Oher to Ole Miss, Chad Pennington to Marshall, etc...this goes back decades...many, many TN HS players wind up in the pros that are not necesarily highly rated or recruited...(I believe Willis was only rated a 3 star prospect, for example.) That data base of HS athletes that played for schools other than UT, and that were very successful in college, and even many in the pros...now that would be demonstrative, and may be precisely what Butch Jones is talking about related to TN HS football thru the years...hope Charlie High proves himself at UT; good luck to the young man...GBO!

VOLStrong writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

UTC cannot win in 1AA with the best kids in the state. Just look at the numbers and you will see how many BCS level D1 signees come from the other SEC states vs. Tenn. Let that garbage go. UT won from 1990-2008 by taking players from other states that the big time in state schools wanted. You take about 5-7 in state kids on a good year and that is it.

Remember, they where the glory years becuase they where glory years. That is not the Tenn norm by any stretch. To ask anyone to duplicate the greatest era in UT football is just setting every coach that comes in here up to fail. Get it through those heads. IT WILL NEVER BE THAT WAY AGAIN AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR DECADES .......IF EVER.

Enjoy the change.

referring to my prior post...I meant Patrick Turner, not Patrick Ramsey...Jalen Ramsey is the most current USC recruit.

VOLStrong writes:

in response to movol53:

What I've never understood is the fact that the state of Tennessee does not produce many D 1 players each year as per the sports media.
Yet other schools come to Tennessee and recruit well. Almost every SEC school has one or two players from Tenn on its roster; Bama has one or two that are seniors or Juniors who have made an impact at Bama. Yes Memphis is closer to the Mississippi schools, Ark, LA, ALA, etc than Knoxville but Jones must start at home in ALL of Tennessee. Tennessee has always recruited well nationally so build with Tennessee boys and get the others nationally. We've got to have those that WANT to play for Tennessee. Look at how many 4 and 5 stars actually make it to the NFL and look at the number of 3 stars that make it. The lower ranked players are not afraid to work hard whereas many of the higher ranked players think that it should be "handed to them". Recruit Tennessee every other SEC team does; usually getting a successful recruit. GO VOLS!!!

well stated...furthermore, many of the TN high school players that go to D1 schools other than UT, seem to land in the Pros, disproportionately...which makes me believe the rating system is skewed (biased) against many of the TN HS players...how can you have multiple pro players (at least 2 TN HS players in the SB tonight) and then everyone else drops off and cannot even play at the D1 level?...does not make sense, really. I'd like to see that correlation statistic. These HS players are just not given a chance based on the rating services, then go to an FCS school or whereever, and are likely not nearly as motivated as they would if playing for UT, et al at the FBS level. Charlie High from Knoxville, deciding to walk on at UT in lieu of a Tenn Tech scholarship...that is a story about motivation and desire...and I hope he disproves a rating service, once again.

GloryDays writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Yes, the firing of Fulmer was not handled well.

He should have been let go in 2005 instead of 2008.

If you have one losing sesaon you should be fired? How have the last 4 year worked out? Don't be hater!

Rumblefish writes:

Let me get this straight....the University of Tennessee needed to conduct a "study" to see that winning football games leads to getting good recruits???? Oh my......

Tell me Mr. Hart....how many man hours were spent on this in depth discovery????

AllforTenn writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Let me get this straight....the University of Tennessee needed to conduct a "study" to see that winning football games leads to getting good recruits???? Oh my......

Tell me Mr. Hart....how many man hours were spent on this in depth discovery????

Apparently you missed the conclusion, which was that (1) coaching stability and (2) building relationships are what is needed to recruit successfully.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to AllforTenn:

Apparently you missed the conclusion, which was that (1) coaching stability and (2) building relationships are what is needed to recruit successfully.

oh my god....are you actually saying that coaching stabilty and building relationships are necessary for recruiting????

holy c.r.a.p. thank you "AllforTenn". We would have never known. Your insight is unlike no other. you are so smart.

Orange_Beach writes:

Peyton Manning is the most over-rated QB in the history of college football. What did he win?

nocleats writes:

Recruiting went downhill once the NCAA turned its back on Fulmer and let it be known that he was one of the coaches, (there were others but the media focused on Fulmer) that turned in evidence of Alabamas cheating scandal.. In many communities the "snitch" is much more hated than the offender.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Orange_Beach:

Peyton Manning is the most over-rated QB in the history of college football. What did he win?

Uhh Fran Tarkenton, Archie Manning IMO are way more overrated than Peyton..Peyton got to and won UT's first ever SECCG.

PeytonWM18 writes:

in response to Orange_Beach:

Peyton Manning is the most over-rated QB in the history of college football. What did he win?

Do you really need an answer to this question? Peyton won more games than any other UT quarterback, and his senior year he and his teammates won the SEC title and would have had a shot at the national title against Nebraska if an idiot wide receiver had not dropped a perfect TD ball, in which Peyton had to chase down the defender and in doing so injured his knee, in the SECCG.

Peyton did everything a QB can do on the road his sophomore year against Florida. He had the team up big at the half in Gainsville, but a current "legendary" UT coach, Jay Graham, fumbled "twice" in the third quarter to give the Gators the momentum and a path to victory. That loss had nothing to do with Peyton's play.

In fact, if you look at the Gator record books, Peyton has more yards and TDs against the Gators than any other QB in college football history, but all three loses (he did not start against Florida his freshman year, contrary to popular belief) are totally hung on the shoulders of Mr. Manning. I just don't get it.

Talk to any knowledgeable college or pro player and/or coach, and he will tell you what Peyton Manning has done. He's only changed the game forever.

If you claim to be a Vol fan, there's no way you should ever say one bad word about Peyton. He's done more for UT Knoxville than any former player (including Fulmer and Majors) in our school's history. Peyton never fails to tout UT when he can, including last weekend during the NFL Pro Bowl, when he mentioned that Tennesse had SIX players in the game. No one loves UTK more than Peyton.

Go Vols!

Ayres_Hall writes:

Living in the past, still?

Here is all you need to know:

"When we were rolling in the 1990s, a lot of those programs were down, which meant we could go into their backyard to recruit," Hart said. "They were rotating coaches, for the most part. Now they've acquired what we want: They've acquired stability."

bkwats2003#237114 writes:

in response to GloryDays:

I think there are many factors that have caused the decline of Tennessee football. A lot of it happened when Doug Dickey retired. Mike Hamilton really dropped the ball. The way Fulmer was fired. The hiring of sleezy Kiffin. Then the hiring of incompatent Dooley, he was not qualified to coach or recruit. Hamilton spent his time trying to extract as much money from the Tennessee fans as possible.
Much of the blame has to go on Jimmy Cheek, he made it harder for top players to be admitted, he took away the support system for student athletes, did away with athletic dorms, got his grubby paws in the athletic departments money.
As Phillip Fulmer said, "recruiting is the lifeblood", of a winning college football team. I think Butch Jones knows that, and will spend 365 days a year doing it. Rome wasn't built in a day and it will take coach Jones some time to get this thing going. Go Big Orange!

The irony of you mispelling "incompatant" is surpassed only by the idiotic notion that Fulmer's firing was mishandled. The Vanderbilt game was Fulmer's celebration game and the stands were 3/4 full. The program did not leave Phil Fulmer; he left the program by being lazy.

I'm sick of the Fulmer lovers who can't let him go. I want someone on this site to tell me a good way to fire someone. No matter what the person in charge does, there will always be those who disagree with how a firing was handled. That you have chosen the name "GloryDays" tells us all we need to know. Get over Phil Fulmer and Doug Dickey. Oh, and try spell check once in a while.

Go Butch Jones and his staff and GBO!

dragon18 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

oh my god....are you actually saying that coaching stabilty and building relationships are necessary for recruiting????

holy c.r.a.p. thank you "AllforTenn". We would have never known. Your insight is unlike no other. you are so smart.

You do this type of study to get very specific information to develop a very specific plan going forward. Of course we as fans see much of what is concluded by the article of what's in the report, but we also do not see the whole report and what more of the specific conclusions happen to be. If you read the article you would see that UT did not share the entire study. I can assure you that there is some damning information in there on internal athletic department practices and failures. Please don't asume that you the University is pissing away funds based upon this really basic info that has been reported.

RoadTrip writes:

I am really glad they did this study. Or they could have listened to Vol fans and alum that care deeply for the program have been telling them the same things for all these years. So many people fell for the lie that Fulmer and crew started about it being a weak state to recruit in. The truth is he got lazy and complacent and just used the national prominence to go other places because it was easier and safer in the eyes of the media and fans than to try and sell lower rated recruits from your state. When you do that you slowly kill the feeder system that built the program in the first place. That was really evident with Kiffin and Dools.

I remember how Fulmer changed the offensive line blocking schemes when he started recruiting huge O-lineman that were strong but did not move well. When he did that they got away from the running plays and blocking schemes that were successful for them for many years. The most successful running play in UT history was the counter trey IMO. Can't run that play with slow lineman. Jones runs the modern version of it from the shotgun. So you will see the more mobile O-lineman again that can be recruited from this area and you will see a successful running game as a result.

It's just a fact that a kid that grows up orange blooded is going to know what it means to be a Vol and most will give everything they have in them for their home state. That little extra of motivation is all it takes sometimes to get over the top.

bUTch_please writes:

in response to BigVolinCarolina:

The reality is that the decline of UT football has been a collective effort. Coach Fulmer got complacent his last few seasons, Lane Kiffin was a disastrous hire on a number of levels, and Derek Dooley was overmatched in taking the UT job.

UT got fat, lazy and out-of-shape. Whenever that happens, it's always incredibly hard to get back into shape.

And a little help from key players in the University administration would sure be nice.

+1

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

in response to GloryDays:

I think there are many factors that have caused the decline of Tennessee football. A lot of it happened when Doug Dickey retired. Mike Hamilton really dropped the ball. The way Fulmer was fired. The hiring of sleezy Kiffin. Then the hiring of incompatent Dooley, he was not qualified to coach or recruit. Hamilton spent his time trying to extract as much money from the Tennessee fans as possible.
Much of the blame has to go on Jimmy Cheek, he made it harder for top players to be admitted, he took away the support system for student athletes, did away with athletic dorms, got his grubby paws in the athletic departments money.
As Phillip Fulmer said, "recruiting is the lifeblood", of a winning college football team. I think Butch Jones knows that, and will spend 365 days a year doing it. Rome wasn't built in a day and it will take coach Jones some time to get this thing going. Go Big Orange!

Your post was relevant till you tried to make Fulmer sound great.

Fulmer was fired for allowing the program to drop and for letting recruiting fall behind. Lets remember what he did WRONG, and recruiting was a huge wrong that he allowed to happen.

He got fat on his own fame and forgot he had to show up to recruit kids, just being Fulmer coach of UT wasn't going to last forever and he forgot that one important factor in the end.

PUL4VOLS writes:

in response to RockVegas:

How I miss those days.Tennessee should have run CPF off long before he got fired first off.You have to get at least 10 top state players if your going by the size of the Volunteer state.Back then we were the first one's with indoor practice fields and all that,we should have been winning championships on a regular but people make one good run and get comfortable and alow other schools to catch up and their alums started to spend more money as the social media picked up more kids learned about the state school in state and wanted to stay close to home and go to school.The whole time Tennessee will be on t.v every Saturday finding a way to give up the big games that everybody was watching.We just lost that fire along the way,then you go out and get mediocre coaches that doesn't help either before you know it,your looking up at everybody.I don't know if CBJ is SEC material but I love his fire,and that's what TENNESSEE needs someone that can rally the troops,when people like you they will do almost anything.People didn't like CLK but that team thought they had a chance of winning every ballgame,and they did fight most of the games they played,just saying...GBO

Please keep your CLK comments to yourself. I saw the Chik-Fil-A bowl, that team was beaten within the first few minutes. They were not prepared to play. If they thought they had a chance, that thought quickly changed. VT was better than the Vols but not that much better. I put it on your beloved CLK and staff. Maybe he knew something then, maybe not. But that team had a lot of issues which a 7-6 record reveals. CLK did not really want to be at UT and thank God he only stayed a year.

whatthe84 writes:

I think the team needs to get back to the maxims that the "General" layed out many years ago. Our orange clad vols have been detoured down a rocky dusty road for the last few years and have been searching for their mojo for sure. The decisions made by those in charge created a losing situation that has gone from bad to worse. CBJ and his staff do have a tough nut to crack but with hard work and following the basics of the "General" they can begin to be relevant once again. The key will be recruiting and making good decisions about which players to target. We have signed a bunch of players who have washed out, quit, got into trouble with the law, had terrible character issues etc. All the schools could say the same about their recruits but ours have been more harmful to our success. When your short on talent to begin with and your big stars wash out it kills you. We have not had a big time recruit at running back since Bryce Brown and he was not in Kville for a hot minute and so was Oku. Bray had all sorts of issues, the receivers hurt, one year wonders etc. We got a big hill to climb but I think CBJ is working hard to begin the climb. Hope for the best but set reasonable levels of success to measure against. This year 5/7 or 6/6 is reasonable anything more is gravy. Set the table for next years recruiting class, develop relationships with kids and coaches. Coach em up Butch!

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to PeytonWM18:

Do you really need an answer to this question? Peyton won more games than any other UT quarterback, and his senior year he and his teammates won the SEC title and would have had a shot at the national title against Nebraska if an idiot wide receiver had not dropped a perfect TD ball, in which Peyton had to chase down the defender and in doing so injured his knee, in the SECCG.

Peyton did everything a QB can do on the road his sophomore year against Florida. He had the team up big at the half in Gainsville, but a current "legendary" UT coach, Jay Graham, fumbled "twice" in the third quarter to give the Gators the momentum and a path to victory. That loss had nothing to do with Peyton's play.

In fact, if you look at the Gator record books, Peyton has more yards and TDs against the Gators than any other QB in college football history, but all three loses (he did not start against Florida his freshman year, contrary to popular belief) are totally hung on the shoulders of Mr. Manning. I just don't get it.

Talk to any knowledgeable college or pro player and/or coach, and he will tell you what Peyton Manning has done. He's only changed the game forever.

If you claim to be a Vol fan, there's no way you should ever say one bad word about Peyton. He's done more for UT Knoxville than any former player (including Fulmer and Majors) in our school's history. Peyton never fails to tout UT when he can, including last weekend during the NFL Pro Bowl, when he mentioned that Tennesse had SIX players in the game. No one loves UTK more than Peyton.

Go Vols!

well said. Orange beach is obviously a moron.

LaneBrains writes:

in response to GloryDays:

I think there are many factors that have caused the decline of Tennessee football. A lot of it happened when Doug Dickey retired. Mike Hamilton really dropped the ball. The way Fulmer was fired. The hiring of sleezy Kiffin. Then the hiring of incompatent Dooley, he was not qualified to coach or recruit. Hamilton spent his time trying to extract as much money from the Tennessee fans as possible.
Much of the blame has to go on Jimmy Cheek, he made it harder for top players to be admitted, he took away the support system for student athletes, did away with athletic dorms, got his grubby paws in the athletic departments money.
As Phillip Fulmer said, "recruiting is the lifeblood", of a winning college football team. I think Butch Jones knows that, and will spend 365 days a year doing it. Rome wasn't built in a day and it will take coach Jones some time to get this thing going. Go Big Orange!

Well Well Well Glory Days.

Mike Hamilton was the "Answer" not the "Problem" and "The Dream Team" of myself and Dad and Ed was a massive upgrade from the old ways of running a run down SEC has-been. So much so, that the legendary program at 'SC made us an offer that allowed us to keep our UT pay, and get paid in L.A. too!

Hammy fired the home-grown crew afer proving they couldn't do it any longer. Try to recruit only in-state and the really talented coaches would never come your way again.

How talented are we? This year we will have two #1 QB draft picks -- Tyler B, and the supremely talented Matt here at 'SC. AND, AND , AND we beat Both UK and Vandy everytime we played them AND also blew out UGA and called out the cheating Gamecocks.

Jimmy Cheek is only second to the other famous leader of people with the initials "J.C." I mean he's awesome!

CLK, Monte and Ed!

GloryDays writes:

in response to bkwats2003#237114:

The irony of you mispelling "incompatant" is surpassed only by the idiotic notion that Fulmer's firing was mishandled. The Vanderbilt game was Fulmer's celebration game and the stands were 3/4 full. The program did not leave Phil Fulmer; he left the program by being lazy.

I'm sick of the Fulmer lovers who can't let him go. I want someone on this site to tell me a good way to fire someone. No matter what the person in charge does, there will always be those who disagree with how a firing was handled. That you have chosen the name "GloryDays" tells us all we need to know. Get over Phil Fulmer and Doug Dickey. Oh, and try spell check once in a while.

Go Butch Jones and his staff and GBO!

It's not the curl in the pig's tail that puts ham on the table. I think you are missing my point, First I don't get it, why people don't respect Phillip Fulmer? This man gave 30 years of his life for the University of Tennessee. He truly represents the statement "Vol for Life". How people can disrespect him, boggles my mind.
Yes, Fulmer made some mistakes, being lazy was not one of them, you may want to consult Mr Webster for the defintion. Fulmer was a great recruiter, just look at the NFL pro bowlers. Fulmer was too loyal he promoted Randy Sanders. He didn't replace assistance who were lazy, and who couldn't recruit. Big mistake was hiring Dave Clausen, this guy's offensive playbook was a disaster. If Fulmer was to be fired, Hamilton should have had a plan to replace him. He did not! How have you liked the last 4 years? I hate losing and it is fans like you who have partially caused this.
I am 100% with you in supporting Butch Jones! Hopefully he will learn from the past and put the Vols back on top. Go Big Orange!

GloryDays writes:

in response to LaneBrains:

Well Well Well Glory Days.

Mike Hamilton was the "Answer" not the "Problem" and "The Dream Team" of myself and Dad and Ed was a massive upgrade from the old ways of running a run down SEC has-been. So much so, that the legendary program at 'SC made us an offer that allowed us to keep our UT pay, and get paid in L.A. too!

Hammy fired the home-grown crew afer proving they couldn't do it any longer. Try to recruit only in-state and the really talented coaches would never come your way again.

How talented are we? This year we will have two #1 QB draft picks -- Tyler B, and the supremely talented Matt here at 'SC. AND, AND , AND we beat Both UK and Vandy everytime we played them AND also blew out UGA and called out the cheating Gamecocks.

Jimmy Cheek is only second to the other famous leader of people with the initials "J.C." I mean he's awesome!

CLK, Monte and Ed!

Amen brother! I have to admit I had to read this a couple times to understand it. First thought was that peanut farmer. Lancaster B.C. is the place to go in Southern California.
Your one year run at Tennessee had some good moments, you could coach and recuit, but you trashed our tradition and you aren't the CEO - figure head type. Please send TM back home when you get fired!

Retiredvol writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Yes, the firing of Fulmer was not handled well.

He should have been let go in 2005 instead of 2008.

Absolutely agree Jon

brod writes:

it takes time to rebuild. unless you are florida or georgia. then all it takes is one good class of signees from your state. we wasted four years on two bad coaches with no proven track record. jones will win. competing for sec championships with the monsters in the sec will take another few years.

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