So, coming off perhaps the biggest recruiting weekend of the year, with three offensive lineman on official visits to Neyland Stadium and an absolute trouncing of the Georgia Bulldogs by the lowly and miserable* Tennessee Volunteers, the joint ought to be exploding with news on recruiting, right?
The only concrete news is that T.J. Leifheit has committed to the North Carolina Tarheels - a move that was, to be quite frank, blindingly obvious. He had been favoring the 'Heels for a long time and they're his home state team, so it would have been a severe surprise to have him go elsewhere. It'd be easy to go all sour on him for committing to them immediately following his official visit to Tennessee, but that's the way of 18-year old kids. I was one once.
Otherwise, nobody has committed or decommitted since the last update, so the map remains largely unchanged. Some observations follow after the jump. But now, the map:
View Rocky Top Talk Tennessee Volunteers Recruiting Big Board 2010 in a larger map
Names to Watch
Honestly, there's not a lot of word out there at the moment regarding imminent commits. A few high-end players who appear to be warmer to the Vols after this weekend include Jawuan James, the former Alabama offensive line commit, Jeff Luc, the Florida uber-linebacker, and Corey Lemonier, but none of them are expected to make a decision anytime soon.
For those looking for a quicker solution to the offensive line depth problem (ok, everybody can put their hands down now...), John Cullen is a JUCO lineman who appears to be a good possibility. He's 6'-6", about 290 lbs., and runs a sub-5 40. Now, 40 times aren't usually much to worry about for linemen, but he's lean and the run time gives reason to think he's quick, which is a big plus for UT's offense. Because he's JUCO, he's been in post-high school conditioning programs for a couple of years and should be more physically ready to play than most.
There are other offensive linemen out there, but the two most likely are James and Cullen. If we end up with those two, hold on to Zach Fulton and Jose Jose, and lose Marquis Pair to South Carolina (a real possibility), that would be four highly-regarded linemen who suit the system well. We'd still be a bit thin going into 2010, but would probably be in good shape for 2011 with those numbers. It's a bit tricky, because we really don't want to load up so heavily on linemen that we create this exact same problem four years from now, but it'd be nice to fill out quickly. That's where a player like Cullen may have more value than anticipated; he'd fill a need early but would not be a part of a glut of linemen to leave in 2013.
Expect two things: slow news through November, and a wild and crazy ride from December through National Signing Day. There will be current commits who de-commit, and there will be surprises that nobody sees coming. This staff started late on the 2010 class by virtue of not having been assembled until the turn of the year, but they're determined to finish strong.
Lastly, don't expect Jesse Scroggins. I know that people keep holding out hope for him since Matt Barkley is starting, but Scroggins had said before the season that he was quite happy to redshirt and wait two years behind Barkley, then play his final two. Given the track record of the USC Trojans, two years is more than enough opportunity to generate NFL draft stock. It's close to his home, it's his favorite school, and he'd get five years of training with Pete Carroll and Josh Bates. He's not coming to Tennessee.