Sep 15, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers players enter the field prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Florida defeated Tennessee 37-20. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
Recruiting is a fickle, funny world.
Of course it would have behooved the Tennessee Volunteers to make a statement and capture a win against the Florida Gators on Saturday night. It probably wouldn't have been unheard of if that happened for the Vols to go ahead and pick up a commitment or two that day. Well, as we all know, it didn't happen. Instead, the Vols pffft their way to a 37-20 loss after a second-half meltdown. Still, there wasn't nearly as much negative feedback as you'd have imagined.
Right now, we're 2-1, and for much of the game, Tennessee did enough to perhaps sell those in attendance that they were just a few players away from being able to win that football game. Of course, most Tennessee fans believe we already should have been in position to win that football game, and this isn't exactly a happy state to be in right now. That unrest hasn't trickled into recruiting just yet.
But it will, of course, if the Vols don't win some big games this year and finish with eight or nine victories. As of this weekend, the loss to the Gators stung but wasn't yet crushing. Lose a few more, and it'll pile up and affect recruiting. All isn't lost yet, but UT has to start putting up or the big names will go elsewhere. Onto the notes.
- Perhaps the biggest news of the weekend came from Rivals.com's No. 1-ranked running back Derrick Green. Though he didn't commit to the Vols, he came away from the atmosphere incredibly impressed. The 6-foot, 220-pound bruiser told GoVols247, Volquest.com and Rivals national columnist Mike Farrell how much he enjoyed the trip. Of particular note was a conversation with Antonio Richardson that Green detailed to Farrell that meant a lot to him. Farrell went on ahead on Twitter to say that he believes UT overtook Michigan for the top runner on that service, and that the Vols and Auburn Tigers are the teams battling it out right now. Rumors are that Green's family wants him at UT. Green also told reporters that the depth chart was his No. 1 priority in his recruitment.
- The news wasn't as good with five-star running back Derrick Henry of Yulee, Fla. He told several services that Alabama remained his leader though UT gave him plenty to think about. He is a mid-term enrollee and will decide Sept. 27. Many think if he goes anywhere other than Tuscaloosa, it will be a shocker. Still, we bent the ear of the 6-3, 240-pounder, and the Vols do have some relationships there.
- 247's Chris Nee said last week that four-star running back A.J. Turman should be put on "commitment watch" for his visit to Knoxville. The ninth-rated runner in the nation didn't commit, though he seemed to really enjoy his visit. The Vols are still battling Georgia and Florida State for a commitment there.
- Farrell also said on Twitter that he thought the Vols led for five-star safety Vonn Bell of Ridgeland (Ga.) HS outside of Chattanooga. UT is in a battle with Alabama and Ohio State for the longtime UT fan, but Bell wants to see Tennessee win games to know he'll be in good hands.
- UT solidified itself this past weekend with commitments Corey Vereen and Kameron Miles.
- There is no bigger name in next year's class than 247 five-star running back Jalen Hurd of Beech HS. The Vols got in late on him with offers -- and he really favors Alabama a lot right now -- but Hurd visited Knoxville for the Florida game, which was a positive development for UT. Also Hurd noted in one article that he wasn't really feeling Vanderbilt right now. The Commodores were at one time just behind Bama for Hurd's favorite. Hurd grew up a Vols fan but is intrigued by the Tide. We've got a lot of ground to make up there.
- Other '14 prospects who were present for UT's loss were Vols legacy Todd Kelly Jr., who told 247's Keith Niebhur that the Vols would be a factor in his recruitment, and Georgia commitment Nick Glass, who told 247 that he was "amazed" by Knoxville. Glass did say it would "take a lot" to change his mind on Georgia.
- 2014 offensive tackle Alex Bars of Montgomery Bell Academy told 247's Barton Simmons he really enjoyed his trip to Knoxville for the game. Bars said Alabama, Ohio State and Nebraska are recruiting him hard. He has two brothers playing in the Big Ten.
- Southern Cal commit and five-star defensive back Jalen Ramsey unofficially visited Knoxville for the UT game, but he talked more about Florida than UT in his articles. So, I doubt there's anything happening there. Sometimes, kids just want to leave the state. Oh well.
- Tennessee continues to try with two North Carolina prospects. Luke Wilson seems to be UT's top target at tight end, and the Vols are sitting well there. But Wilson, who wants to be a pilot, also really likes Air Force. That will be the Vols' biggest hurdle in that recruitment. Also, MarQuez North may be the top wide receiver prospect in the nation. He's certainly one of them. He visited Knoxville for the Florida showdown and didn't say anything particularly separating for the Vols. However, a lot of national analysts think UT will be a factor till the end with North.
- New Jersey dual-threat quarterback/cornerback/athlete Nadir Barnwell is expected to announce his decision today. He's down to Tennessee and Rutgers, but it would be a major shocker if he didn't stay at home. Nobody is picking the Vols here.
- RUMOR ALERT: There was a point when it was believed the Vols passed on four-star offensive tackle Christian Morris of Memphis, who committed to UCLA. Now, there are rumors that UT is back in that one and he may visit Knoxville, perhaps for the Akron game. If rumors are to be believed, he'd have committed to UT when he pledged to the Bruins.
- At one point, Tennessee was expected to be one of the favorites for Jason Croom's former teammate at Norcross High Alvin Kamara. It appears that's a two-team battle for the speedster -- Alabama and Georgia. Bummer.
- We took you through both basketball commitments on Monday, but the bottom line is this: Cuonzo Martin is a phenomenal recruiter. The coaching staff absolutely loves A.J. Davis and doesn't care how many stars he has. They think he will develop into a dominant SEC player and has a huge upside that could land him in the NBA like his father, 13-year NBA veteran Antonio Davis. As for Hubbs, well, he's in my opinion one of the three best high school scorers in the country and the definition of elite.
- Have a good rest of the week and breathe easy on the Vols. Season ain't over yet!