Well, the off season has once again gotten away from us, which means that it has served its intended purpose: to distract us as we while away the time in the waiting room. The good news that game week begins in six days certainly outweighs the bad news that we're going to have to hurry through the Getting to Know the New Guys series.
No long-winded, carefully researched files on these guys this year. Just haphazard compilation of un-fact-checked information and pretty pictures. And of course we had to rank them because that's what we do.
We're going to roll out our ranking of the Class of 2008 over the next three days, six each day. To refresh, the methodology and caveats from last year:
- A player is awarded Rocky Top Talk Jars based on four components: the view of the player by the major recruiting rankers (Scout, Rivals, and ESPN), all converted to a 100-point scale, and our own "offer rating." The offer rating awards players up to 100 points for up to three offers from other schools. For instance, if a player received an offer from Florida, which had the best recruiting class last year, he would receive 100 points. If he also had other offers from, say, Southern Cal and Texas, he would get another 96 points for the Southern Cal offer and another 88 points for the Texas offer. A player would get points for his top three offers only, and the schools ranked from 100 points for a Florida offer down to two points for a West Virginia offer. Yes, there are problems with this notion. For instance, some schools didn't offer a guy who committed early and was obviously not going to change his mind. Guys like that should be held in high esteem by all Vol fans, but loyalty is difficult to measure.
- The data on the players was often different, depending on the source. In such a case, I either averaged them or took the less impressive number, depending on my mood at the time. Get over it.
- I wanted to rank the guys on a ten-point scale instead of a five-point scale so that we could better differentiate between them all. Keep in mind, though, that Tennessee's class was ranked No. 3 or No. 4 in the nation this year, so even the guys that get two out of 10 Jars are quite good. All Tennessee recruits, by definition, are at the top of the bell curve.
- You can reanimate the profile thingy by clicking on the stopwatch, the football player, or, for those that have weight-lifting information, the barbell.
All right, then. No. 18 in the Class of 2008 is Stephaun Raines.