Tennessee Football: 4 Recruits Vols Could Add After National Signing Day
At least three times in his first national signing day press conference, Butch Jones mentioned "not giving up" on the 2013 Tennessee Volunteers recruiting class. In other words, there could still be additions. Who are some of those prospects?
First, you have to look at the Vols' biggest areas of need. Those positions appear to be running back, defensive line (especially tackle) and linebacker. Second, you need to scour the market for available players that fit this need. There are still solid recruits that haven't yet signed, so there's no doubt this can be done.
Third, you must evaluate their skills, ability to grow as a player, character and leadership. Jones stated in his press conference that he applies such a formula to every recruit. Finally, you have to go out and recruit those players! It's always easier said than done, but Jones and his staff have shown a knack for this.
Here are four players that I think fit the criteria.
Tevin Lawson, DT
LSU has asked 3-star defensive tackle Tevin Lawson to greyshirt because of academic issues. I'm not an expert on the specific requirements of each SEC school, but if there's any way to recruit Lawson to Tennessee, it's a no-brainer.
Lawson is a Louisiana native and wants to attend his state's school, but the greyshirt request came of out nowhere, according to his high school coach. Since his decision to hold off signing with a school, Kentucky has made a concerted effort to snag him. Why not Tennessee?
Daniel McCullers, Maurice Couch, Daniel Hood and redshirt freshman Danny O'Brien lay a solid foundation for defensive tackle in 2013. (Side note: I feel a special affection toward a unit that has so many people that share my name.)
But after 2013, all but O'Brien will be gone. It's time to prepare for that now.
Jason Carr might move inside one day, and Marlon Walls has some experience in the middle. It's Lawson, though, that could be a real difference maker beyond 2013.
James Hearns, LB
I still cringe when I think about Derek Dooley letting former commit Khalid Henderson go. Tennessee needs linebackers.
He ended up impressing at Kentucky, and I really hope doesn't become Randall Cobb 2.0.
The Vols only managed to bring in one linebacker for 2013, Corey Vereen. Jalen Reeves-Maybin called himself a safety during the press conference, while Carl Lawson and EJ Levenberry both opted for other schools.
Jones has a relationship with redshirt freshman Kenny Bynum because he almost picked Cincinnati last year. Along with Dontavis Sapp, he is one of the linebackers most likely to assume the starting outside linebacker role vacated by Herman Lathers, but there needs to be more.
If he is interested in the Wildcats, there's no reason the Volunteers couldn't garner the same interest. This would be a nice haul.
Michael Dyer, RB
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Once you get passed the two-deep depth chart at running back, the prospects are pretty grim. There resides names like Alden Hill, Devrin Young, Tom Smith and now Jabo Lee.
Marlin Lane and Rajion Neal did a decent job tag-teaming the starting duties last season, and they're likely to do it again this fall. But they were average at best, and that may not be enough to get the Volunteers to a near-mandatory six wins in 2013.
Enter Michael Dyer, former 5-star Auburn recruit and 2011 BCS National Championship Game Offensive MVP. Dyer has bounced from Auburn to Arkansas State to Arkansas Baptist College trying to play football but has dealt with personal issues with guns and drugs.
His goal is to get back and play major college football in the fall. There's absolutely no doubt that he's a risk for whichever school takes him, but he's extremely talented and perhaps has already seen his worst days.
I'm not sure where Butch Jones or Jay Graham fall on Dyer. In fact, I'm not even sure what my own opinion is, but one thing is for sure: If you could get one trouble-free year from him, your team would benefit greatly.
Isaiah Crowell, RB
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The same logic in support of Michael Dyer applies to Isaiah Crowell. Tennessee could absolutely use some talent and depth at running back, and he would provide both.
Crowell is former 5-star recruit for Georgia and was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by the AP. He rumbled for nearly 850 yards on 185 attempts in one season before being arrested on three weapons charges, two of them felonies.
He's now at Alabama State and had a good 2012 season, tallying 842 yards on 159 carries. It was just his first year out of major college football, compared to Dyer, who has been out for two years.
That's a positive from the standpoint that he's more SEC-ready than Dyer, but a negative from the standpoint that his head may have not had time to clear yet.
Crowell is more of a gamble than Dyer, but there's no questioning his skills.