As the calendar moves ever closer to August, we’re getting more and more excited about the coming football season and can’t wait to see what it will bring. We hope you enjoy this week’s version of The Hill as we take you through what’s been happening and what to look for going forward--especially on the recruiting front.
Feelslike98 forum users learned Monday afternoon that junior QB Tyler Bray was allegedly involved in some type of incident that involved throwing beer bottles at a car from the balcony of his apartment. Yesterday, the situation was made public as the story hit the airwaves and other sites. The punishment will likely be handled internally after Bray agreed to pay for the damages, and it’s doubtful that there will be a suspension. Bray will also pay a debt to the team by getting some extra work from Coach McKeefery.
Obviously there was some excitement early in the week when the NCAA handed Penn State its punishment, which included allowing all current players and signees to transfer without having to sit out a year. However, don’t expect much good news for Tennessee on this front. Silas Redd is a long shot and it appears he is still pursuing the thought of going to USC. One name to look for here could be Brent Wilkinson. The TE was a 3 star recruit in the ’12 class. The coaches have been in contact with him, and they are trying to get Wilkinson to campus for a visit.
Cordarrelle Patterson continues to impress the coaches. He is everything that people imagined and more. Hunter is back to (or close to) 100% and is working with Tyler Bray more than anyone. Again, this team has taken full responsibility for last year’s disaster and is ready to get that taste out of their mouth. They are anxiously awaiting the first game. As was indicated by the players at the SEC Media Days, the fact that UT faces a quality ACC opponent in the first game instead of a team like Western Kentucky, UT-Martin, or Montana is working in the team’s favor. They know that there is no warmup game this year, and the team is very focused.
Dante Phillips is in. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, everything will be official very soon with him. Thank you, Dave Hart.
Herman Lathers represented the team very well at the SEC Media Days in Birmingham in his interviews, and he is hungry for a great season. Don’t underestimate the impact he could have on Tennessee’s defense. He will help Sunseri be able to implement everything he wants to do.
Pig Howard’s recovery has been on track, and the coaches still hope that he can have an impact for the team this fall.
Look for Jason Hatcher to commit to USC so that he can hold a spot in their class. However, if the season plays out as expected, it would be somewhat of a surprise if he isn’t a Vol. His family is pushing him to go to Knoxville.
DL Rod Crayton will probably also be a Vol when it’s it is all said and done, but a legit offer from LSU could change things.
Jerrol Mobley would be a fallback plan if we were to miss on someone like Toby Johnson. Hopefully that shouldn’t be an issue.
Jermaine Grace is a name to watch for. Due to sanctions at both Miami and Penn State, the staff will make a push for him. He is small, but has tremendous skill at the LB position.
Tennessee has made a big push for DE Antonio Riles. Florida and Georgia have slow-played him a bit because of some other guys on their respective boards.
Speaking of Georgia, two players that are currently committed to the Bulldogs are showing interest in Tennessee. Shaq Wiggins and Naim Mustafaa are two guys that Tennessee might end up flipping. There is probably more interest in Mustafaa at this point from the staff, but as the DB dominoes continue to fall, Wiggins could become a huge target for the Vols.
One of those dominoes will fall on Aug. 10 when Jalen Reeves-Maybin makes his decision. It has come down to Ole Miss and Tennessee. We expect him be a Vol.
There was a lot of buzz around DB Cam Sutton the last few weeks, and many people seem to believe that he has moved up the board. At this point, though, it looks like Sutton will likely be another fallback in case Tennessee misses a few at that position.
Two positions that seem to have a great deal of certainty in this class for the Vols are running back and wide receiver. At running back, it seems that there are 4 guys that we are heavily involved with.
Alvin Kamara has basically dwindled his list down to Tennessee and Georgia after Tyshon Dye committed to Clemson.
A. J. Turman looks like he will also be choosing between Georgia and Tennessee. FSU is probably not going to take him.
The guy that Tennessee fans are the most excited about is Derrick Henry. Most seem to think he will end up at Alabama, but Tennessee is very much a factor and are a very close second. He is close to choosing, and it would be a huge swing in momentum if he chooses Tennessee. He is the kind of guy that if he chooses Tennessee, others could follow. Watch his recruitment closely.
Tarean Folston is a guy that isn’t talked about as much but could end up being part of this years signing class when it’s all said and done.
The WR position is equally as fluid. Stacey Coley and Marquez North are at the top of the board, but it is doubtful that the coaches win either of those battles.
Two names to remember are Marqui Hawkins who is currently a Gator commit, and Jatavius Stewart. Stewart is a former teammate of Cordarrelle Patterson in high school. He is attending Hutchinson C.C. now and it is looking like he will continue to follow Patterson’s footsteps. He has speed to burn and can also play in the backfield.
Colton Goeas, a LB from Hawaii, made his commitment to Tennessee official last week. He is definitely a sleeper. He has great size and speed, and those two things are very attractive to Coach Sunseri. That also probably erased any doubt about Reeve Koehler. The OL is Goeas teammate and will announcing at the Army All-American Game later this year. We expect him to ultimately choose UT.
As it has been reported, OSU is out of the running for Derrick Green. He will probably wind up at Michigan or Auburn, but UT could try to make a push.
As we all know the Florida game is as big as it gets this year. It keeps getting bigger because the staff is trying to get as many guys as possible to visit that weekend. Targets could include Wiggins, Hawkins, Coley, and North among others.