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When you look back at Tennessee’s underwhelming results since 2010 it’s at least mildly intriguing that they’ve still been able to recruit so effectively.
Well, according to Rivals.com, the Vols have hauled in classes that have ranked No. 9, No. 13, No. 19 and No. 20 from 2010 to 2013 respectively.
When you throw in the fact that Tennessee has managed to attract eight top-ranked JUCO recruits during the same time period, it’s easy to argue that it’s yet another program just waiting for the right coach to come along and light the fuse.
What’s really impressive about the Volunteers’ JUCO success since 2010 is the fact that a full seven of their eight top-rated transfers came with a 4-star rating.
This is a number that gives Tennessee a tie with Nebraska for the most 4-stars among JUCO transfers in the past four recruiting seasons.
The Vols high-star wins include the following players: in 2010, DT John Brown from Northeast Mississippi C.C. in Booneville, Miss. and DB Dave Clark from Independence C.C. in Independence, Kan.
In 2011 Tennessee brought in No. 5 overall rated S Byron Moore from Los Angeles Harbor C.C. in Wilmington, Calif., No. 9 overall rated DT Maurice Couch from Garden City C.C. from Garden City, Kan. and No. 16 overall rated ATH Izauea Lanier from East Mississippi C.C. in Scooba, Miss.
Finally, in 2012 the Vols signed the No. 4 overall rated player in WR Cordarrelle Patterson from Hutchinson C.C. in Hutchinson, Kan., along with No. 6 overall rated DT Daniel McCullers from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga.
In terms of how all these big-time signees actually did once they hit the field at Tennessee: DT John Brown didn’t qualify academically and never played for the Vols while DB Dave Clark was declared ineligible and went on to become a solid corner for Louisiana Tech from 2011-12.
Safety Byron Moore made a successful transition upwards and as a junior in 2012 kicked in five INTs (one for a TD), registered 86 total tackles, two tackles for a loss and four broken-up passes.
DT Maurice Couch also has done well with the Vols contributing 75 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks over his sophomore and junior seasons in 2011-12. ATH Izauea Lanier spent a single season with the Vols (2011) as a DB with 48 total tackles in 12 games before being declared ineligible for 2012.
From the class of 2012 WR Cordarrelle Patterson contributed 1,858 yards of total offense and 10 TDs as a rusher, receiver and return specialist last season. DT Daniel McCullers reeled off 39 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, one blocked kick and a single sack as a junior in 2012.
Tennessee’s sole 3-star JUCO transfer in the last four recruiting seasons, DE Darrington Senitmore who transferred in from Gulf Coast C.C. in Perkinston, Miss. in 2012, had a solid junior season featuring 18 total tackles, five tackles for a loss, four sacks and six QB hurries.
It’s also noteworthy to mention that in 2013, Tennessee, under new coach Butch Jones, failed to sign a single JUCO transfer ranked among the Rivals.com top 50.