Out with the old. The NFL Draft begins tonight at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN, and several former Tennessee players are expected to have their names called and bank accounts increased over the next several days. The major prospects are offensive tackles Ja'Wuan James and Tiny Richardson, offensive guard Zach Fulton, center James Stone, defensive tackle Daniel McCullers, and running back Rajion Neal. Yes, that's heavy (heh) on linemen, particularly of the offensive variety. James appears to be the favorite to be the first Vol picked this year.
Butch Jones will be watching and possibly weeping:
"Yeah, it's an unusual situation," Jones said. "Unfortunately, I wish we could have had them for another year or two. I would have loved to have had ‘em for four years, actually. But they're all tremendous individuals. They have great competitive character. They have great makeup. Most of ‘em already have their college degrees, which is a big thing in our football program - first and foremost, it's to graduate our players. Then it's the National Football League. But they've all come a million miles. I'm indebted to them, with what they brought, and the leadership that they brought, and really just the stability that they brought to our football program, and the offensive line position."
In with the new. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush's commitment to Penn State Tuesday night will increase the competition for the remaining big-timers, including 5-star dual-threat QB Torrance Gibson. Gibson has named Tennessee as his leader, but we should now expect Ohio State to show up with roses and that smile you can't trust.
The nation's #1 JUCO defensive tackle D.J. Jones, who has almost 20 offers so far, says that Tennessee is one of five schools standing out to him right now. The others are Georgia, Alabama, Florida State, and South Carolina. He'll visit Tennessee Saturday.
4-star defensive back Cameron Ordway also has about 20 offers, and he doesn't really have a leaderboard at this point, but he does say that he's hearing most from Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Auburn.
Well whattayaknow? Donnie Tyndall has signed 4-star combo guard Detrick Mostella, who 247 ranks as the #44 overall prospect in the nation. Tyndall also has Philip Cofer, who signed with Tennessee but then asked for a release and is now being recruited all over again, down to three schools, including Tennessee. (The other two are Florida State and Virginia Tech.) And Tyndall is still working current UT sophomore guard Robert Hubbs (a 5-star player), who hasn't asked for a release but could at any moment.
All of that is good news, not just because Tennessee needs bodies. Tennessee just added Kansas State to its 2014-15 dance card, a schedule that already includes Butler, NC State, and whoever they might meet at the eight-team Old Spice Classic.