John Adams: Another area SEC has edge — recruiting juco players

John Adams
Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson catches a 21-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter against Kentucky at Neyland Stadium on Nov. 24. On Wednesday, new UT coach Butch Jones said Patterson is "definitely going to the NFL." (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick

Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson catches a 21-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter against Kentucky at Neyland Stadium on Nov. 24. On Wednesday, new UT coach Butch Jones said Patterson is "definitely going to the NFL." (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

The popularity of junior college recruits is on the rise in the SEC. That should surprise no one.

The league hasn't won seven consecutive national titles in football by overlooking any conceivable advantages.

But you don't have to be contending for a national title to see the upside of signing junior college players. They're for the desperate as well as the prosperous.

As awful as Tennessee was during a 5-7 2012 season, it would have been worse without junior college transfers, three of whom started on the defensive front, and another — wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson — who turned out to be one of the league's most exciting players.

New UT coach Butch Jones is committed to building a program through recruiting and developing high school players. However, he's not averse to supplementing that basic plan with occasional junior college recruits.

UT's 2013 recruiting class includes junior college cornerback Riyahd Jones. Butch Jones also has a commitment from junior college tight end Woody Quinn.

Quinn and Jones were targeted to fill positions of immediate need. In a best-case scenario, Quinn will help fortify a position last manned by senior Mychal Rivera; Jones will improve a secondary that stumbled through the 2012 season in disarray.

"You may see one or two individuals more from junior college," Jones said in a Sports Page interview Friday morning. "I believe they can help your football team."

UT isn't the only struggling SEC program hopeful of receiving a boost from junior college recruits. Arkansas has signed five junior college players. Auburn, which didn't win an SEC game in 2012, has signed three junior college players and has commitments from two more.

Auburn's recruiting is relevant to Tennessee in that the Tigers will return to the schedule this November. That looks like a winnable game for UT from this vantage point.

It might look different this season if junior college recruits Cameron Artis-Payne and Nick Marshall successfully make the transition to SEC football. Artis-Payne could give Auburn a power-running back, and Marshall might have sufficient running and passing skills to fit new coach Gus Malzahn's offense.

At the opposite end of the SEC standings, national champion Alabama has signed four-star junior college offensive lineman Leon Brown, who could compete for a starting position on a line that will lose three starters.

Texas A&M and Georgia, who tied for fifth in the final Associated Press top-25 poll, have been more active in the junior college market. Both likely will include five junior college transfers in their 2013 class.

Ole Miss made recruiting headlines last week when it received a commitment from Laquon Treadwell, ESPN's No. 1-rated wide receiver. But junior college recruits also figure in the Rebels' nationally prominent recruiting surge.

They have signed two four-star junior college recruits, wide receiver Quadarias Mireles and defensive tackle Lavon Hooks, and have a commitment from four-star junior college wide receiver/defensive back Nickolas Brassell.

Brassell has a history at Ole Miss. In 2011, he caught 24 passes and played cornerback as a freshman. He wasn't as successful academically and chose to continue his education at East Mississippi Community College.

One junior college season later, he's apparently healed academically and on pace to rejoin an Ole Miss team that will return 19 starters.

Sounds like another junior college success story for the SEC.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or Follow him at


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Comments » 12

born2ride writes:

John Adams is a hoot.

RunningWithTheVols writes:

I love to see a serious football article: facts, analysis, possibly some humor, quotes from relevant sources, and a few original insights.

Guess I will go read Rick Reilly or, UT Alum, Wojichowski on ESPN.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

john adams is a looser

Rumblefish writes: 'bout you do some actual "reporting" and tell us something we don't know. Oh wait...that would entail you doing your "job".

CAPTAIN OBVIOUS retains his title!!!!

Rumblefish writes:

Hey everyone...Skip the Adams article (if you haven't already), and find all your JUCO signing/evaluation knews here:

How much COPY/PASTE did you do John?

rbwtn writes:

If you don't like what John Adams writes then don't read it stop your inexperienced judging it gets you no where.

rtrchatt writes:

Great article Sunday in the AJC on your boy Vonn Bell. Wonder what he thought of the national championship parade in TTown Sat?

mj2454#655272 writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

john adams is a looser

But you are even looser with your spelling

arkyvol writes:

i think patterson is going to be a great nfler, but to consider him as having been a tennessee student is a joke. he's not the only one year juco player that could be said of. most real students will spend more time in the student union than the typical juco player will spend in class. that, of course, is irrelevant to the so called fans who consider academics as an unnecessary impediment to recruiting.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

john adams is a looser

Don't know what a "looser" is, but I know what a loser is and JA is not one of those. Some of you just don't want to face up to the hard criticism and reality of JA articles.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

Jones could probably sign 10 JUCO players and not fix the damage Dooley did to this program in recruiting the past two seasons.

Dooley's last class wasn't quite the disaster Kiffin's last class was but,7 out of 22 signed won't be playing for the Vols next season. And I'd expect Alden Hill to bolt as well if Jones adds a couple more RB's to the mix with this class.

As it stands, JUCO's are nice to fill out a class with some potential high impact players like a Patterson but a major college program cannot sustain success with these players.

Too many issues with grades, character concerns, or being a one and done type player like a Cam Newton or Patterson.

LaneBrains writes:

We took Kid Simms instead of Cam Newton... Ed and Monte still regret it. Me, I'm look for the next Cam to take M. Barkely's place.
CLK, Monte and Ed

Go Mike Hamilton!

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