National Signing Day Preview: Tennessee's 2011 Recruiting Class

Earlier this week, we looked at the depth chart by class for Tennessee's offense, defense, and special teams. Here's a summary showing just the projected starters. Just for fun, I included the same chart from last year for comparison.

TENNESSEE FOOTBALL DEPTH BY CLASS
TOTALS FOR PROJECTED STARTERS
 
Unit
Seniors
Juniors
Sophomores
2010 OFFENSE (215/87)
6 (162/77)
1 (14/0)
4 (39/10)
DEFENSE (254/67)
6 (182/43)
2 (36/13)
3 (36/11)
2011 OFFENSE (168/69) 2 (51/13) 1 (26/13) 8 (91/43)
DEFENSE (209/100) 3 (59/23) 6 (124/69) 2 (26/8)

Some interesting stuff there. We lost a good deal of senior leadership from last year to this year. However, our junior class on defense and our sophomore class on offense are both much stronger than their counterparts of 2010. It's hard to replace seniors that have played for four years, and while the Vols won't have the experience in 2011 that they did in 2010, they're well on their way to getting there.

So what does Tennessee need out of National Signing Day next week? This is all speculative, of course, but based on what we've looked at this week, and assuming Dooley signs 28 guys, here's what I have:

 

Position
Needs
Commits
Player
Rivals
Stars
Scout
Stars
QB 1 1 Justin Worley 3 3
RB 2 3 Marlin Lane 4 4
      Tom Smith 3 3
      Devrin Young 3 3
FB 1 0      
WR 3 3 DeAnthony Arnett 4 4
      Vincent Dallas 3 3
      Tino Thomas (CB/WR) 3 3
TE 1 1 Brendan Downs 3 3
OL 5 4 Marcus Jackson (OG) 4 3
      Kyler Kerbyson (OT) 3 4
      Alan Posey (OG) 3 3
      Mack Crowder (C) 3 3
DE 2 1 Jordan Williams 3 3
DT 4 3 Maurice Couch 4 4
      Trevarris Saulsberry (DT/DE) 3 3
      Allan Carson 2 3
LB 4 2 A.J. Johnson (MLB) 4 4
      Christian Harris (OLB) 3 3
DB 4 5 Justin Coleman 4  
      Pat Martin (S) 4 3
      Brian Randolph (S) 3 3
      Geraldo Orta (S) 3 3
      Izauea Lanier (CB) 4  
ST 1 0      
Total 28 23      

I'm no expert, so take the needs column for whatever it's worth to you. But Tennessee has 6 early enrollees (in bold) and 17 current commitments, leaving room for five more guys, assuming Dooley signs 28.

The team already has one more running back and one more defensive back than I have in my "needs" column. Given that, if it were me, I'd try to add another foot, another fullback (assuming we're still using this position in the future), another offensive lineman, another defensive linemen, and another linebacker. I could be talked into giving up the foot and the fullback for some linemen or a surprise five star guy or two.

So who's still on the board for those positions? Ask and receive:

Offensive linemen

  • Antonio Richardson. A 4-star OT from Nashville's Pearl-Cohn. He's the 7th-ranked OT in the nation according to Rivals, and he's primarily interested in Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Miami, and Tennessee. May be our biggest remaining target.
  • Cameron Clear. A 4-star who Rivals ranks as the 18th-best OT in the nation. He's from Memphis, and he has interest in a whole bunch of schools, including Tennessee. Dude's 6'6" but only 265.
  • Spencer Region. A 3-star, 23rd-best OG in the nation with "medium" interest in a bunch of schools including Tennessee.
  • Troy Niklas. He's the 24th-ranked OT in the nation, and he has "medium" interest in a bunch of schools including Tennessee, although he's mostly interested in Notre Dame, Stanford, and USC.

Linebackers

  • Lamar Dawson, the nation's 3rd-best inside linebacker who Rivals gives 4 stars. He's from Danville, Kentucky, and he's reportedly interested in Kentucky, Tennessee, Oregon, UCF, and USC. Perhaps our second biggest remaining target?
  • Curt Maggitt, a 4-star guy ranked 10th in the nation at OLB whose interest is "high" in Florida (heh), Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Defensive linemen

  • Jermauria Rasco, a 4-star defensive end with "medium" interest in several schools including UT. He's the 8th-best weakside DE in the nation.
  • Terrance Coleman, a 3-star DE primarily interested in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Southern Miss.

[Note by Joel, 01/28/11 10:53 AM EST ] Adding to the DL prospects, via golfballs03 below. (Also, there's some great conversation in the comments, so if you generally don't venture down there, today's a good day to do so.)

Missing a couple DL prospects

-Gabe Wright, DT, a 4-star thought to be between Tennessee and Auburn
-Micky Johnson, DT, a 4-star deciding between Tennessee, Arkansas, and LSU
-Timmy Jernigan, DT, a 5-star thought to be a FSU lean but also considering Tennessee, Florida and to a lesser extent, LSU. People had written Tennessee off his list, but he just announced he will be taking his last official visit to Knoxville this weekend. Coach Smith is recruiting him hard, and doing a good job.


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