So we finally get some recruiting news: Bruce Irvin de-commits from Tennessee and commits to Arizona State. The highly rated JC linebacker would have been a great help to the depth chart, and likely would have made a quick impact on the team, but has decided that greener pastures await him in the Arizona desert. Via text message, Irvin told GVX:
"I just felt like ASU wanted me more and I can come in and make an impact."
"UT never called me or showed me any interest like they wanted me before today."
By his account, UT hadn't made any contact with him for three weeks. And presumably, they hadn't answered any calls he might have made to them. Now, it's probably pretty easy at this point to lay into this story as a bunch of bunk, but that would neither accomplish anything nor be particularly kind to a kid. Here are some quick things to think about regarding Bruce Irvin:
- He's going to junior college in southern California. Arizona State is closer and closer to home. That can't be ignored.
- If the staff did indeed quit talking, they don't want him. Think back through all the recruiting news: when has this staff not gone all stalker-frenzied over a recruit they wanted - even one that was already committed? The two don't compute.
- The staff not talking is suspect. This is a staff that never hesitated to talk to other players to tell them they weren't wanted. We remember that well from the previous recruiting cycle. It's not their game.
- He was a very early commit. The early ones are also the most prone to change their minds (quarterbacks excepted). A very likely scenario is that he grew interested in other places, the staff picked up on that sense, eventually the contact cooled down, Irvin let his eye wander to closer locales, and the staff figured this was a battle not worth the resources that could be spent on other battles. It is what it is, and we can let the story lie there. But there is room for another linebacker or three now, if any are interested.
At any rate, even the world's bestest, most insanely awesomest recruiting staff will lose a guy from time to time. I think our staff is pretty close to that mark, so there's no need to worry about one decommit. If half of them fly away, then we have problems. But one is a battle, not the war.
Ok, the map:
View Rocky Top Talk Tennessee Volunteers Recruiting Big Board 2010 in a larger map
No additions yet, and the subraction (Irvin) has already been covered. Other observations:
Georgia is rumored to be pursuing Ted Meline. Tea leaves seem to say it won't turn to anything, but it's certainly out there. Hey, we're picking them off from other schools; expect the favor to be returned - or at least attempted. Also, expect more news like this throughout the year and the future.
- Positive outlooks from Matt Elam, Dietrich Riley, Jeff Luc, and Corey Lemonier. Lemonier has yet to visit, but the others all spoke well of Knoxville over the weekend. As always, you really can't read too much into it other than that you very rarely hear of nonplussed recruits after official visits. Riley is the most likely of the bunch, though Elam might switch from Florida. Luc is anybody's guess at this point - he's staying mum on his preferences.
- Still no news on offensive linemen. Leifheit seems to be a real possibility, as does Jawuan James. James Stone - the instate guy - seems to be losing some street cred in recruiting circles and may actually be a little more interested in Alabama. He may turn out to be one of those guys where Alabama claims victory for getting a Tennessee commit while UT benefits over the long haul from better linemen. But that is speculating way beyond certainty.