A Way-Too-Early Look Ahead: Projected Offensive Depth Chart 2011

-Returning Statistical Leaders: QB Tyler Bray (125-224, 1849 yds, 18 tds, 10 ints), RB Tauren Poole (204 att, 1034 yds, 11 tds), WR Justin Hunter (16 rec, 415 yds, 7 tds)
-Returning Starters: (8): Tyler Bray, Tauren Poole, Channing Fugate, Ju’Wuan James, Zach Fulton, James Stone, JerQuari Schofield, Dallas Thomas

QB: Tyler Bray[SO], Matt Simms[SR], Nash Nance[FR] or Justin Worley[FR](RS)
~After a strong freshman campaign, in which he threw for 1,849 yards and 18 touchdowns, Bray should easily exceed those numbers in his second season. The biggest concern with Bray this past season was his size–he played around 190 lbs–expect him to be closer to 220 lbs this year. As long as Simms doesn’t transfer, he will provide valuable depth and experience behind Bray, as well as, give Worley a chance to redshirt. Although the coaches would like to redshirt him, do not be surprised if the freshman Worley breaks into the depth chart; the coaches, especially offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, love him. Nance will provide depth.
RB: Tauren Poole[SR], Rajion Neal[SO], Marlin Lane[FR] or Tom Smith[FR], Toney Williams[SO]
~Coming off a 1,000+ yard season, Poole will head into spring camp as the favorite to win the runningback position, but sophomores, Neal and Williams, and freshmen, Lane and Smith, will all push for carries. Neal had a decent showing last season before hitting the proverbial “freshman wall.” Williams looks to return to full strength following a knee injury his freshman year. Smith and Lane, two highly recruited backs from Florida, have the talent to overtake the upperclassmen, if they can handle the adjustment to the college level.
FB: Channing Fugate[SO], Sam Edgmon[SR]
~Fugate moved into the starting lineup last season during the South Carolina game and went on to start five of the final six games; he will be relied on this season to man the fullback role full-time. Edgmon is a walk-on who has contributed on special teams but shouldn’t be counted on on offense, barring injury.
WR1: Justin Hunter[SO], Matt Milton[SO]
~The receiving corp is the most talented part of this team, however, they lack experience. Justin Hunter showed his incredible talents often throughout his freshman year reeling in seven touchdowns on only sixteen catches, but this year he will stuck with the task of filling the shoes left by Denarius Moore. Milton is a huge receiver at 6’6″ 220 lbs who could end up at tight end, before all is said and done, but is a great mismatch no matter where he plays.
WR2: Da’Rick Rogers[SO], DeMario Williams[JR]
~Rogers, a consensus 5* in the 2010 class, will have to take over for Gerald Jones this coming year. Rogers had a hard time cracking the lineup early in the season, but cashed in on his opportunities late in the year, catching a touchdown in the bowl game. Williams, playing in his first season following a transfer from MTSU, received high praise from the coaches during spring practice.
SLOT: Zach Rogers[JR] or DeAnthony Arnett[FR], Vincent Dallas[FR]
~Rogers, Arnett and Dallas will all see time at the slot position. Rogers has seen playing time sparingly his first two years on campus but should see more this year, even possibly starting early on before giving way to Arnett or possibly Dallas. Arnett is an Army All-American who is a superb route runner with great quickness. Dallas isn’t the route runner Arnett, but he is faster; he is a possibility for kick and punt returner next season.
TE: Mychal Rivera[JR], Cam Clear[FR], Ben Bartholomew[JR], Brendan Downs[FR](RS)
~Rivera, who started his career at Oregon, before going the junior college route, has the task of replacing All-SEC TE Luke Stocker. Rivera, a better receiver than blocker, will split time with the freshman, Clear, and veteran, Bartholomew. Clear will, more than likely, grown into a spot on the offensive or defensive line before his career at Tennessee is done, as he is already north of 260 pounds. Bartholomew has moved back and forth between fullback and tight end during his first three years on the squad and may do the same again this year, but, for now, he will add depth and experience at tight end. Downs could see playing time if Bartholomew moves back to fullback but is a likely candidate to redshirt.
LT: Ja’Wuan James[SO], Marques Pair[FR], Daniel Hood[SO]
LG: Zach Fulton[SO], ^Alex Bullard[SO], Kevin Revis[SO], Kyler Kerbyson[FR](RS)
C: James Stone[SO], Darin Gooch[JR] or Mack Crowder[FR]
RG: JerQuari Schofield[SO], Marcus Jackson[FR], Carson Anderson[JR]
RT: Dallas Thomas[JR], Antonio Richardson[FR], Alan Posey[FR](RS)
~Six returning linemen have starting experience, including Freshaman All-American, James Stone. After a rough season for the offensive line, which featured up to four freshman starters at points, this group should be much improved and a strong point for the offense. The left tackle, guard and center positions look to be secured by James, Fulton and Stone; the right side of the line, however, looks to have position battles. Schofield, who battled an ankle injury last season, will have to beat out the Under Armour All-American, Jackson, while Thomas, who started every game at left tackle last season, will have to beat out the Army All-American, Richardson. The addition of Notre Dame transfer, #Bullard, will provide needed depth and experience, assuming he is allowed to play this season. Posey, Kerbyson and Crowder are probable redshirts, while Revis, Gooch and Anderson look to be career back-ups. Coming off a redshirt season, the athletic Pair could make a serious push for playing time at the tackle position.

^ - Awaiting waiver.
# – Coming off injury.

Offense by Class:
FR: 14
SO: 14
JR: 7
SR: 3
 Possible redshirts:
QB: Justin Worley
TE: Brendan Downs
OT: Alan Posey
OG: Kyler Kerbyson
C: Mack Crowder

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Post-NSD 2011: A Restocked Cupboard

(Originally posted on vol4life.blogspot.com on 2/3/11)

The confirmation of Eddrick Loften’s signed Letter of Intent(LOI) today signified the completion of Coach Derek Dooley’s first full class at Tennessee. Coach Dooley’s first class may not contain the “star power” of past year’s classes, but the class is filled top to bottom with high-character and high-quality athletes. New reports out of Knoxville say the coaches even backed off their recruiting some highly-touted prospects, such as Clemson runningback signee, Mike Bellamy, a 5* prospect, because of character concerns. Out of the twenty-eight signees in the class of 2011, only three are said to have possible academic concerns; these concerns typically mean the player is only in need of a higher ACT/SAT score. Just as impressive as the academic side is the lack of character issues associated with the young men of this class; there do not seem to be any troublemakers in this class, unlike the classes of past staffs.

This class is the foundation of the powerhouse Dooley and co. hope to build Tennessee into once again. The class will provide early depth at each position across the board next season, and many of the prospects will see major playing time early on. Look for the biggest impact to be made in the secondary, as well as smaller impacts at tight end, linebacker, and wide reciever.

FINAL CLASS:

QB: Justin Worley – 3* – 6’4″ 205+
RB: Tom Smith – 3* – 5’10″ 205
RB: Marlin Lane – 4* – 6’1″ 210
WR: DeAnthony Arnett – 4* – 6’0″ 175
WR: Vincent Dallas – 3* – 6’0″ 180+
TE: Cameron Clear – 4* – 6’6″ 265
TE: Brendan Down – 3* – 6’6″ 235+
OL: Alan Posey – 3* – 6’6″ 350
OL: Antonio Richardson – 4* – 6’6″ 325
OL: Kyler Kerbyson – 3* – 6’5″ 315
OL: Marcus Jackson – 4* – 6’2″ 315+
C: Mack Crowder – 3* – 6’4″ 270+
DE: Jordan Williams – 3* – 6’5″ 250
DE: Curt Maggitt – 4* – 6’3″ 215
DT: Maurice Couch – 4* – 6’2″ 305
DT: Trevarris Saulsberry – 3* – 6’4″ 280
DT: Allan Carson – 2* – 6’2″ 327
LB: AJ Johnson – 4* – 6’3″ 245
LB: Christian Harris – 3* – 6’2″ 235
DB: Byron Moore – 4* – 6’1″ 205
DB: Justin Coleman – 4* – 5’11″ 175+
DB: Brian Randolph – 3* – 6’0″ 190
DB: Geraldo Orta – 3* – 6’0″ 180
DB: Tino Thomas – 3* – 6’0″ 200
DB: Pat Martin – 4* – 6’0″ 205
DB: Izauea Lanier – 4* – 6’1″ 190
DB: Eddrick Loften – 4* - 6’0″ 200 *Originally part of 2010 class.
ATH: Devrin Young – 3* – 5’7″ 156

+Early Enrollee

*Ratings from Rivals.com
*Height, Weight from UTsports.com

~Check my previous blog: “Restocking the Cupboard: National Signing Day 2011″ for my first year predictions on each player.

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Restocking the Cupboard: National Signing Day 2011

(Originally posted on vol4life.blogspot.com on 1/24/11)

After three dark years of trials and tribulations, beginning with Coach Phil Fulmer’s resignation in 2008, through Lane Kiffin’s brief tenure in Knoxville, and continuing into Coach Dooley’s first year on campus, the sun is finally rising on Rocky Top, and boy, is it beautiful. Dooley and co. have just finished their first year on campus together and there finally seems to be some stability. All nine assistant coaches appear to be sticking around for at least one more year, and Dooley looks to be settled in for the long haul.

The benefit of coaching stability on recruiting and restocking the talent on this team will become more and more apparent over the next few years, as the coaches are able to develop a positive rapport around the nation. The coaches didn’t have the luxury of time when it came to building a positive rapport with high school coaches, recruits and their families this year. They have, however, done a stellar job on the recruiting trail thus far.

From here I will give a short breakdown on currently committed recruits, as well as, who I believe will fill out the remaining spots in this class.

CURRENTLY COMMITTED:

QB: Justin Worley - Gatorade National POY. Early enrollee. Ideal size. Rated a 3* prospect on Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247 recruiting services. Questions about mechanics, arm strength.
RB: Tom Smith – 3* on Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247. Already 6′ 200lbs, looks college ready. Will get early carries following transfer of Oku. Questions about breakaway speed.

RB: Devrin Young – Dominated East TN at Bearden HS. 2* on ESPN. 3* on Rivals, Scout, 247. Only 5’7. Will not contribute much early on on O, but can provide immediate impact on special teams.
WR: DeAnthony Arnett – Played in Army AA game. 4* on all services. Consensus top-5 WR. Will play early at slot receiver. Perfect compliment to Hunter, Rogers. “Unguardable” at Army practices and camps.
WR: Vincent Dallas – Early enrollee. Similar to Arnett but not as polished. Blazing speed. Can play early in the slot or on special teams.
TE: Brendan Downs – Early enrollee. Athletic TE from Bristol. Probable RS. Perfect TE size. 3* on all services.
T: Alan Posey – Huge T prospect from GA. Choose UT over Clemson. Should be a RS.
G: Kyler Kerbyson - Top OL prospect from Catholic HS. Offered by UF, USC, Bama, etc. Would RS in ideal situation but thin OL may press him into action. 4* on Scout.
G: Marcus Jackson – Early enrollee. Top-10 G prospect. Played in UA AA game. Will push for early PT. 4* on Rivals, ESPN, 247.
C: Mack Crowder – Early enrollee. Teammate of Downs at Bristol HS. 3* on all services. Consensus top-10 C prospect. Should RS.
DE: Jordan Williams – Athletic freak. 3* on all services. From Gainesville, FL. College-ready body. Will play early at thin DE spot.
DT: Maurice Couch – Top-8 Junior College prospect. Most important recruit in class, at position of need. Immediate impact, possible starter. 4* on Rivals, Scout. 5* on 247.
DT: Trevarris Saulsberry – Teammate of J Williams at Gainesville HS. Should RS. Not college ready. Not expected to contribute early. 3*.
DT: Allan Carson – HUGE DT prospect from AL. 6’2 320. Shouldn’t contribute much early but could get PT. Staff feels he is a diamond in the rough. No other big offers. 3* on Scout, 247.
LB: AJ Johnson – 4*, top-150 prospect. Played in UA AA game. Will play early. Already 6’3 235. Could grow into a DE but will start at MLB.
LB: Christian Harris – 3* offered at camp by Lance Thompson. Not heavily recruited. Big LB, 6’2 230. Possible RS, depending on depth.
CB: Justin Coleman – 4* on Rivals, 247. Early enrollee. Will compete for early PT at CB and on ST.
CB: Izauea Lanier – Top-15 JuCo prospect. 4* on Rivals. Perfect CB size. Expected to play early, push for starting spot.
DB: Tino Thomas - 3* from Memphis. Ideal measurables 6’1 190, 4.4. Should RS but could contribute on ST.
DB: Geraldo Orta - 4* on ESPN. Former Clemson commit. Questions about speed. May be just ahead of Thomas; could contribute on D, ST.
S: Brian Randolph - 3*. Huge hitter. Expected by many to contribute early both on D, ST. Possible backup at S.
S: Pat Martin - 4* on Rivals, ESPN. Big hitter. Will contribute early on ST, D. Early commit, great recruiter.

PROSPECTS:

RB: Marlin Lane – 4*. Longtime Clemson commit. Down to UT, FSU, UM. Great size. Knee injury jr year caused big drop in ratings this year. Compared to Arian Foster by Rivals.
TE: Cameron Clear – 4*, top-150 prospect. Jumbo athlete from Memphis. Could play TE, OT, DE; prefers TE. Must get. Considered Vol lean. Down to UT, Bama, Barn, Duke.
TE: Brandon Fulse – 4*. Played in UA AA game. Not expected to qualify. Would have immediate impact. Says he is wide open. Considered an Auburn lean.
OT: Antonio Richardson – 4*. Played in Army AA game. Top instate prospect. Must get. Considered a Vol lean. Down to UT, UGA, Barn. May visit USC 1/28.
DE: Leon Mackey – 4*. Big JuCo DE. Down to UT, MSU. Would have immediate impact. Hasn’t qualified previous 2 years; I don’t expect him to now.
DT: Gabe Wright – 4*, top-150 prospect. Big time DT. Played in UA AA game. Would play early. Down to Barn, UT. Said to have silently committed to both staffs. Knows how to play the recruiting game. Not a must get but a definite need.
DT: Mickey Johnson – 4*, top-150. Similar to Wright, not a must get but a need. Would play early. Down to UT, LSU. Less than 50% chance of qualifying.
LB: Lamar Dawson – 4*, top-150. Played in Army AA game. Big LB, 6’3 230. Top prospect in KY. Would have immediate impact. KY lean. Down to UT, KY, UCF, USC, UO, UF.
LB: Curt Maggitt – 4*, top-150. Incredible speed. Top-5 pass rusher in class. Needs to add weight, 6’4, 210. From FL. Reportedly wants to leave state. Down to UT, Wisc, UF. Immediate impact.
DB: Byron Moore – 4*, top-5 JuCo prospect. Formerly at USC. Would start at CB or S from day 1. Down to UM, UT. UM lean. Being pushed to UM by father.
S: Eddrick Loften – Committed to UT in 2010 class. Didn’t qualify. Still hasn’t qualified. Being counted in ’11 class, but I do not expect him to get in. Could head to JuCo.
ATH: Willie Carmichael – Unranked. Explosive athlete from Greeneville. Doesn’t have the grades to qualify and has not been recruited because of that but is supposed to visit UT 1/28. I really want Carmichael to end up at UT, but first he will have to go the JuCo/Prep school route.

MY PREDICTION:

RB: Lane – UT – could happen any day.
TE: Clear – UT – staying in state.
TE: Fulse – Auburn - JuCo
OT: Richardson – UT – staying in state.
DE: Mackey – MSU
DT: Wright – UT – honestly, I have no idea. Just being optimistic. I do think one of Wright or Johnson ends up at UT.
DT: Johnson – LSU, JuCo
LB: Dawson – KY – I’m torn here. If Dooley can win over the family, Dawson will be a Vol.
LB: Maggitt – UT – wants to leave FL. Loved UT visit. Wisconsin is just too far. One of Maggitt or Dawson will end up in orange.
DB: Moore – UM
S: Loften – UT, S&P-JuCo – maybe Loften can get here after 2 years in JuCo.
ATH: Carmichael – I don’t see Carmichael signing with anyone; just going straight to JuCo.

Everything I’ve heard says that UT’s class will have 27 prospects in it. I’m going with 28. Because of NCAA rules, only 26 players can enroll in school, meaning 2 players will end up going the Prep school or JuCo route or someone(s) may decommit. I expect Loften to end up in a JuCo, however, I have no info as to who else, if anyone, may. The possibility is always there, though. Examples: John Brown, Loften, Dave Clark from ’10 class, James Green from ‘ 09 class. I haven’t heard of any player wavering on their commitment. Tino Thomas recently made an official visit to USM and had good things to say. Tino or someone else could look elsewhere, but I do not see that happening.

One more thing. There has been much speculation of a “big fish” 5*, surprise recruit ending up in orange. Many names have been thrown around: FSU RB commit James Wilder Jr., DT Timmy Jernigan, TE Jay Rome, DE Anthony Chickillo, DE Jadeveon Clowney, etc. I don’t see any of these happening. Of course anything is possible…

GO VOLS!

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Welcome!

(Originally posted on vol4life.blogspot.com on 1/23/11)

This is my first venture into the world of blogging, so stick with me! I plan to release, at least, one blog per week giving my opinions on the sports world. Most of my blogs will deal with University of Tennessee athletics, however, I am a fan of sports in general and will venture off Rocky Top on occasion. I have some ideas in mind for forthcoming blogs and will do my best to get them out soon!

Hopefully, as I get these blogs out, I can gain some followers. So, if you do stumble upon my work, give some feedback! Please! And if you enjoy, recommend V4L to your friends!

Go Vols!

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