Reviewing Tennessee's Class of 2009

Ah, the power of clouding history through aggressive self-promotion. Fifteen months ago, Lane Kiffin and the "Recruiting Chimera" (whose idea was that, anyway?) were vociferously celebrating a recruiting class ranked 22nd and 23rd in the nation by Scout.com and Rivals.com respectively. The beast took a post-National Signing Day victory jaunt through the state of Tennessee, telling everyone who would listen just how successful they'd been in the short time they'd had and taking pot shots at Urban Meyer and Nick Saban along the way. Yeah, the Chimera later added three highly-regarded recruits, including #1-rated player in the nation Bryce Brown, and moved up to 8th and 10th, but isn't it amusing how Derek Dooley had less than half the time Kiffin and Company had, had to fend off Oz's flying monkeys attempting to carry our recruits to the witch's castle, still managed to assemble a class that ranked 9th and 16th, and yet Kiffin is a permanent headline and Dooley is relegated to the legals?

Self-aggrandizement aside, how good has Tennessee's Class of 2009 proven to be anyway? Starting this week, we're going to take a real look at each of the players making up the class and see how they did their first season. We're certainly not going to transfer any animosity for Kiffin or Ed Orgeron onto the players; these are our guys, and their performances will be reviewed according to what they were able to accomplish in year one of their Tennessee careers. A lot of factors play into their rookie resume, including factors outside their control like experience and talent ahead of them at their position, for instance, and we'll take as much of that into account as we can.

Before we get started, take some time to re-review what these guys looked like coming into the program. It's interesting to note that although Bryce Brown was widely regarded as the best overall recruit in the nation, our RTT Jar (as opposed to "star" because "corn from a jar," get it? har har) rankings had him as third in our own class. How did we arrive at that conclusion? Through a highly proprietary, double top secret algorithm (i.e., a spreadsheet slapped together by a math-challenged, time-deprived attorney) that accounts for the ratings of the various recruiting services but is premised primarily on the belief that college coaches know better than the writers and that offers from other schools is therefore an extremely important factor. Yes, it has its deficiencies. That's life.

So here is the Class of 2009, by RTT Jar Ranking:

We'll start in the next day or two by filtering out the guys who didn't make it to campus (are there any of these?) and the guys who didn't play. After that, we'll take a closer look at each guy who got some playing time to see how he performed and whether he lived up to expectations.

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