Re-Evaluating Tennessee's 2012 Recruiting Class

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Re-Evaluating Tennessee's 2012 Recruiting Class
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Star JUCO wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was one of the few bright spots from Derek Dooley's last full class on the Hill.

Recruiting under former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was never particularly rewarding, but there have been few clunker classes bigger than his final full haul in 2012.

Even though a few of the players still have eligibility remaining, it's already safe to label the class a failure.

The group of 22 players that was ranked 20th by 247Sports and eighth in the SEC was never met with much fanfare.

But the little impact of their careers—for those who actually had careers—is staggering.

The players from that group were supposed to be upperclassmen leaders during 2014, but just 11 remain. Only six of those have legitimate chances to be in the rotation, which means Butch Jones already has overrecruited many of them.

Defections and poor evaluations are key reasons why UT currently is devoid of dependable juniors and seniors.

Dooley signed zero offensive linemen in the '12 class. Of the defensive linemen, only a couple remain who could contribute. As a result, UT will be forced to play newcomers all through the trenches.

"All in all, if you look at all that's happened, all that's transpired, it's hard to feel better than I do today," Dooley told GoVolsXtra's Austin Ward on national signing day 2012.

The Dooley era in Knoxville was characterized by Vols fans trying to convince themselves and the rest of the SEC that things weren't as bad as they seemed.

They were, and the 2012 class is proof. 

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