In case you've forgotten, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley doesn't prefer having recruits on-campus for official visits during football season. That isn't to say he doesn't allow them because, every weekend, there will always be a few, but Dooley much prefers getting a player in on a weekend where he can spend individual time with them and sit down away from the hustle and bustle of game week.
I don't necessarily like this, although I understand it. By failing to have big recruiting weekends, I believe Dooley is not taking advantage of one of our biggest recruiting tools -- Neyland Stadium on game day. Even if you hate the Vols, you have to appreciate what Knoxville turns into on a football Saturday. It's a sight to behold and one that I always enjoy taking my rival-fan friends to for the first time.
So, I'm always excited when I hear of big-name recruits coming to visit for home games. I think it gives us that much better shot to get them to commit. Thing is, Dooley had much rather a prospect settle down from the excitement and getting caught up in the moment, go home, take a deep breath and then commit to the Vols rather than make a rash decision and later decommit.
That's why nobody should panic or even fret about four-star defensive end Trent Taylor not pulling the trigger during or after last Saturday's win over Montana.In case you didn't know, Taylor is a current University of Miami soft commit who is understandably wavering on his decision to be a Hurricane in light of the recent Yahoo! Sports story involving a rogue booster and multiple players over many years. Taylor is 6-foot-3, and though he's listed as 245 on his Rivals.com profile, the Lakeland, Fla., native is closer to 270 now and could grow into a defensive tackle or give UT another of those jumbo DEs Dooley loves.
You can hardly blame Taylor for not committing to UT, though he had a great visit. According to Volquest.com, he had never even been on a plane until he came to Knoxville. He gave the visit an A and developed his relationship with Lance Thompson. He's going to wait it out a while and said he hopes to visit Miami again and South Florida. As of right now, it appears the only plane he's going to get on for the foreseeable future is the one he just got off.
The GVX247 update on Taylor said he is excited about the potential role he'd have in UT's defense and has a lot of thinking to do. He also talked about his relationship with lead recruiter Darin Hinshaw.
"I like (Hinshaw)," Taylor said. "He’s real nice. He’s kind of like my mom. He said he’s going to stay on me so I can get my stuff done, and I like that. That’s what I need — somebody that’s going to push me. We’re getting close."
The Vols also had defensive end commitment LaTroy Lewis, safety commit Cody Blanc and kicker George Bullock onhand for the win over the Grizzlies.
In other recruiting notes:
GVX247's Ryan Callahan has an update on UT important defensive tackle commitment Damien Jacobs, where he said he plans to visit Texas A&M on the weekend of Sept. 24 and the offer is "tempting" to him. He said he also picked up recent offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Jacobs noted:
"The thing is, I feel like it will be hard for a school to top Tennessee, but I know it’s not impossible," he said. "I think another school would have to show me a lot to top Tennessee. Every school you go to has different things. It’d just have to be really impressive for me to switch over."
- Here's a nice GVX247 article on Jason Croom where longtime analyst Rusty Mansell gives his evaluation of UT's jumbo receiver commit talking about his huge upside.
- The Vols got big, big news this week when a couple of different recruiting outlets posted the news that four-star defensive end prospect Jordan Jenkins will take his fifth official visit to Knoxville. Jenkins has long favored Alabama, Florida and Georgia, but UT and Auburn will be his other visits and have a shot to land the talented Georgia prospect.
- There are a lot of message board rumors out there that one of UT's longtime top targets at defensive tackle, Michigan big man Danny O'Brien, is down to UT and Michigan. A lot of experts believe if the Wolverines really want him, it'll be tough to top them. O'Brien favored the Vols a lot early in the process, and UT is still in the thick of it with him.
- MVPs of the current commitments this weekend were running backs Imani Cross and Alden Hill along with linebacker Dalton Santos. Cross had 222 yards on 23 carries to go along with four touchdowns, Hill had 153 yards and two touchdowns and Santos racked up 14 tackles, two sacks, forced a fumble and had three offensive touchdowns, according to Volquest.
- This is a huge weekend for the Vols, not only on the field but also in making another impression on longtime fan and current offensive tackle target Andrew Jelks of Henry County. Jelks is expected to make his official visit to Knoxville to watch the Vols play Cincinnati. It's far from his first trip as his family had season tickets when he was growing up. He's by no means a UT lock, though. Jelks plans on visiting Mississippi State, Vandy, Alabama and Ole Miss before making a decision before the end of October, he told Volquest.
- Another big name to watch this weekend is 6-5, 230-pound quarterback Darryl Richardson of Seffner, Fla., who will visit this weekend. The Vols gave Richardson his first offer, and the big QB is very high on UT. The Vols seem to favor him and Christian Hackenburg of Virginia over all other quarterbacks so far in next year's class. Hackenburg is expected to visit for the Georgia game. UT also likes Kyle Bolin but hasn't offered yet. Eddie Printz, who is a QB in next year's class who was wanting a UT offer, committed to SMU.
- Several outlets reported this week that Lewis, who made his visit to Knoxville over the weekend and is UT's only defensive end commit so far, broke his foot in his game Friday night and is likely to miss the rest of the season. Lewis had offers from Notre Dame and Ohio State, among others.
- Tennessee offered 6-foot, 180-pound wide receiver Richard Benjamin of Tampa, who is probably going to be one of the top players in the 2013 class. He has offers from basically everybody including Alabama, Auburn, Cincy, Clemson, Florida, FSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State and many more.
If you guys have any notes I missed this week, please feel free to post them. Hope this helps everybody to keep up with the wonderful world of recruiting a little better.