Wednesday marks National signing day for college football programs across the nation, and schools from every conference are hoping to make out like kids on Christmas with their new haul of recruits. That is no different at the University of Tennessee, where they are still actively pursuing at least a half-dozen prospects with signing day upon them, thanks to the abrupt departure of Lane Kiffin just three weeks prior to signing day. Here is a closer look at the Vols’ remaining targets and their chances of obtaining their signatures.
1) WR- Da’Rick Rogers
Measurables: 6’3”, 205 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the forty-yard dash
High school/hometown: Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Ga.
Rivals.com rating: Five stars, the nation’s No. 2 receiver and No. 9 overall recruit
Lowdown: Rogers has been committed to the University of Georgia for nearly six months, but that commitment came into question when he decided to visit UT following the commitment of his high school QB (Nash Nance) to Tennessee. Rumors have swirled across Internet message boards for the last week as to what he will do, and his high school coach Hal Lamb told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he had “no idea” where his star receiver was going. However, after making visits to Knoxville on back-to-back weekends and the eerie silence coming from the Bulldog town of Calhoun leads one to believe he will don a Tennessee cap at his signing ceremony.
2)WR- Markeith Ambles
Measerables: 6’2”, 185 pounds, 4.6 seconds in the forty-yard dash
High school/hometowm: Henry County High School in McDonough, Ga.
Rivals.com rating: Five stars, the nation’s No. 3 receiver and 24th overall prospect.
Lowdown: Where Ambles goes and if he signs during national signing day is anyone’s guess at this point. The one-time Tennessee commitment (under the Kiffin regime) rethought his decision after Kiffin’s departure. He visited USC two weeks ago, followed by a visit to UT this past weekend. He went to great efforts to get here, and that has to be seen as positive for the Vols. Rumors were rampant, though, on Monday that Kiffin may have swung things back in the Trojans’ favor with a late night phone call. UNC is also in the mix, but if he signs tomorrow it will most likely be with UT. If not, UT fans know all too well who Kiffin is capable of pulling in after signing day (see Janzen Jackson and Bryce Brown). If Rogers inks with the Vols, it might also signal that Ambles is headed elswhere, although the possibility of getting both does exist. While it’s hard to see them getting both, it seems to be the most likely scenario at this point, but in the world of recruiting, things change as quickly as the phone rings.
3) OL- James Stone
Measurables: 6’5”, 297 pounds
High school/hometown: Maplewood High School in Nashville, Tenn.
Rivals.com rating: Four stars, No. 7 offensive guard
Lowdown: Stone was thought to be lost to archrival Alabama due to his distaste for the former UT staff, but the arrival of Derek Dooley also marked a turn in Stone’s recruitment. He made his last official visit to UT, and all of the “buzz” surrounding his recruitment says The Tide is still very much in the picture here. However, the allure of UT for a Nashville resident should win out in the end.
4) LB- Glen Stanley
Measurables: 6’2”, 242 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the forty-yard dash
Junior college: Eastern Arizona JC
Rivals.com ranking: Four stars
Lowdown: Stanley committed to UT following a visit during the weekend of January 22nd and was thought to be a solid sign to the Vols. However, after an impromptu visit to Southern Cal and a rave review to the Trojans’ Web site following the visit, he appears all but lost to USC. Linebacker is a major need for the Vols, and a JUCO player could ultimately help with limited eligibility remaining. Unfortunately, the appeal of USC will be too much to overcome in this one.
5) LB- Ralph Williams
Measurables: 6’1”, 223 pounds
High school/hometown: Southside High School in Miami, Fla.
Rivals.com rating: Three stars, No. 83 outside linebacker in the nation
Lowdown: No one seems to know what Williams will do thanks to his disappearing act over the last few months. Generally speaking, when a recruit isn’t taking calls from the school’s area code, it means bad news for that school. Williams has been committed to UT since the summer, but the coaching change allowed Ole Miss to become heavily involved. Tennessee doesn’t feel like they are out of this one, but the writing on the wall indicates he will be a Rebel.
Prediction: Ole Miss
6) LB- Raiques Crump
Measurables: 6’5”, 210 pounds
High school/hometown: Minor High School in Adamsville, Ala.
Rivals.com rating: none/unrated
Lowdown: Crump is a flat out fallback plan for the Vols. If the Vols miss on Stanley or Williams, Crump will likely be a signing day addition. Crump visited the weekend of Jan 29th and has said he will commit if UT offers. For now, he is simply in a holding pattern. The Vols are likely to miss on at least one of the aforementioned pairs, and one would think that this would lead to Crump’s signing with the Vols.
The Vols were also thought to be in the running for Mississippi offensive lineman Damien Robinson, but snow forced him to cancel his visit over the weekend. Robinson said he is still interested in the Vols, but it’s a stretch to think he would sign with UT without ever visiting. Look for him to end up at hometown Mississippi State.
On the Radar... Recruits to watch
Published: Wed Feb 03, 2010