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Tennessee Football: Ranking the 2004 Recruiting Class

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Tennessee Football: Ranking the 2004 Recruiting Class

Looking back at Tennessee’s Class of 2004, there were lots of hits and misses, as well as players that far exceeded their considered worth coming out of high school.

The players will be given one of four ratings: Hit, Bust, Overachiever, or if they still have eligibility and have yet to prove anything, or are not buried in the depth chart, then they will get a rating of Verdict Still Out.

I will rank the players based on their perceived worth coming out of high school by the lead scouting agencies, Rivals.com and Scout.com.  Heights and weights listed are coming out of high school.

 

Erik Ainge  QB  6'6" 200  Hillsborough, Oregon

Erik Ainge threw for 3,500 yards his senior year and was a four-year starter for the Volunteers.  He split time his first two seasons in Knoxville and overcame a poor sophomore season to finish second all-time for the Vols in terms of passing yardage.  He'll likely go down as one of Tennessee's better quarterbacks.

Rivals.com Rating: 4 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Hit

 

Ell Ash  OG  6'5" 275   Willingboro, New Jersey

Redshirted with the Vols in 2004 and saw very limited playing time in 2005 before being dismissed from the Vols for violation of team rules.  He is currently a senior Defensive Tackle at Houston.

Rivals.com Rating: 3 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Bust

 

Robert Ayers  LB  6'3" 230  St. Clio, South Carolina

Redshirted in 2004 and had limiting playing time as a redshirt freshman in 2005.  Started two games as a sophomore in 2006 and registered 25 tackles and a sack.  Did not start any games in 2007 as a junior but added 34 tackes and 4 sacks.  Is expected to start his senior year and has a chance to break out as a good end.

Since he'll be starting for the first time as a senior, it's too early to declare him a hit that has reached his four star potential, but all signs point to him earning every one of them.

Rivals.com Rating: 4 star

Scout.com Rating: 4 star

Final Verdict: Still Out

 

Demonte Bolden  DT  6'5" 295  Chattanooga, Tennessee

Attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia to get his grades up in 2004.  Played in one game as a freshman in 2005.  As a sophomore had 22 tackes and a sack coming off the bench.  In 2006 Bolden started 12 games for the Vols and had 26 tackles and two sacks.

Bolden has been very inconsistent and without a big senior season will likely end up in the bust category.

Rivals.com Rating: 4 star

Scout.com Rating: 4 star

Final Verdict: Still Out

 

Chris Brown  TE  6'3" 235  New Orleans, Louisiana

Started two games as a freshman for the Volunteers, replacing an injured starter. As a sophomore started every game but one and caught 14 passes for 141 yards.  As a junior started every game and had 31 receptions for 239 yards and a touchdown.  As a senior caught 41 passes for 281 yards and six touchdowns.

Chris Brown came in as a two star player according to Rivals, started three years and a couple of games as a freshman, and was definitely an overachiever considering his stock coming into college. He was a big part of Tennessee’s offense as a junior and senior at the H-back position.

Rivals.com Rating: 2 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Overachiever

 

Sinclair Cannon  ATH/S  6'3" 190  Greer, South Carolina

Got two tackles during his Tennessee career in what was limited to mostly special teams play.  Never did a whole lot other than play special teams.

Rivals.com Rating: 3 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Bust

 

Britton Colquitt  K  6'3" 200  Knoxville, Tennessee

Redshirted in 2004.  Started three years as a punter at Tennessee earning All-SEC sophomore and junior seasons.  Has been in trouble during senior season and is suspended for first part of the year.  Regardless of how his senior season ends up, he still put up two All-SEC seasons which makes him a hit in my book.

Rivals.com Rating: 2 star

Scout.com Rating: N/A

Final Verdict: Hit

 

Arian Foster  RB  6'1" 205  San Diego, California

Redshirted 2004 season.  Started five games in which he ran for over 100 yards in each after starter Gerald Riggs Jr. went down.  Started four games in a disappointing sophomore season.  As a junior busted out with over 1,100 yards and 340 yards receiving, starting every game and notching All-SEC honors.

Arian is going into his junior season with Tennessee’s all-time career rushing record in sight.  After coming out of high school as a three star player and being passed on by many powers, Foster has definitely overachieved his perceived ability coming out of high school.

Rivals.com Rating: 3 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Overachiever

 

Ramon Foster  OT  6'7" 285  Henning, Tennessee

Redshirted in 2004.  As a redshirt freshman started two games and earned Freshman All-SEC honors.  Played in 11 games as a sophomore and started every game as a junior.  As a junior was 2nd Team All-SEC according to Rivals.com.  Looking to have a solid senior year.  I would definitely put him down as a hit.

Rivals.com Rating: 3 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Hit

 

Jonathan Hefney  DB  5'9" 170  Rock Hill, South Carolina

Started 12 games as a true freshman after coming out of Hargrave Military Academy and had 65 tackles and an interception.  After his stellar freshman year he was named Freshman All-SEC.  As a sophomore Hefney started eleven games and had 65 tackles and three interceptions.  As a junior Hefney had his best season, racking up 96 tackles and five interceptions.

Hefney had considered going pro after his great junior season but decided against it and came back for his senior season.  This would turn out to be a mistake as Hefney struggled at points during his senior season and hurt his draft stock. Hefney once again racked up 96 tackles but only had one interception and struggled with open field tackling and in coverage.

Hefney is a hit despite one mediocre season because he was a four-year starter that put in three good seasons with the Volunteers.

Rivals.com Rating: 4 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Hit

 

David Holbert  FB  6'1" 237  Nashville, Tennessee

Played in 12 games as a freshman in 2004.  Started one game at fullback and played in 11 as a sophomore.  As a junior played in every game but two.  In Holbert's junior season, he missed every game due to a knee injury and was given a medical redshirt.

Holbert was expected to start at fullback in 2008 but his future is now uncertain after a catastrophic knee injury during spring practice.  It’s a shame to have a player never have a chance to be a hit due to injury, but it seems that will be the case with Holbert and he will have to go down as a miss unless he is given another year and can recover.

Rivals.com Rating: 4 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Bust

 

Inquoris Johnson  DB  5'9" 180  Atlanta, Georgia

Inquoris “Inky” Johnson played in 10 games in 2004 as a freshman.  As a sophomore Inky played in 11 games and registered 30 tackles.  He started the first two games as a junior before suffering a devastating injury in which Inky had nerve damage and lost use of one of his arms.  Inky has stayed with the Vols helping out wherever he can.

To have even started a few games and played as a freshman after only being a two-star player makes him a hit in my book.  It’s a shame that his career was cut short as he would have definitely been in the overachiever category and could have had some potential at the next level.

Rivals.com Rating: 2 star

Scout.com Rating: 2 star

Final Verdict: Hit

 

Ryan Karl  DB  6'0" 190  Franklin, Tennessee

Moved to linebacker and played in 11 games on special teams as a freshman.  Played in 11 games again as a sophomore, mostly on special teams.  He started 13 games as a junior and had 66 tackles.  As a senior Karl started again and had 85 tackles.

As a two-star defensive back prospect, no one expected much from Karl at the next level, but he overachieved and worked his way up through special teams play to start two years at linebacker.

Rivals.com Rating: 2 star

Scout.com Rating: 2 star

Final Verdict: Overachiever

 

Jesse Mahelona (JC)  DT  6'2" 290  Honolulu, Hawaii

Jesse Mahelona, a junior college All-American out of Orange Coast Community College in Costa Mesa, California, immediately made a mark with the Vols in 2004, earning 2nd Team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press and the Coaches.

In his 2004 junior season Mahelona had 42 tackles and five sacks. As a senior he had less of an impact but still had a solid season with 35 tackles and two sacks and earned Honorable Mention All-SEC honors.  Jesse Mahelona definitely earned every bit of his five-star ranking his junior season and still had a solid senior campaign.

Rivals.com Rating: 5 star

Scout.com Rating: 5 star

Final Verdict: Hit

 

Cameron Mayo  C  6'5" 260  Dalton, Georgia

Cameron did not play a down in his three-year career with the Vols as he had multiple knee surgeries.  He quit as a player and spent his final year helping coach the team.  He was arrested in May 2008 on drug charges.  Mayo was a complete bust.

Rivals.com Rating: 3 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Bust

 

Jerod Mayo  LB  6'2" 215  Hampton, Virginia

Redshirted in 2004.  Played in six games and started one in an injury-plagued redshirt freshman season.  As a sophomore started 11 games and had 84 tackles and received second team All-American honors from Rivals.com, despite having his season cut short by injury.  During his junior season Mayo had 140 tackles, the most since Earnest Fields had 140 tackles in 1990.  He had a 19-tackle performance against Kentucky.

Mayo went 10th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft to the New England Patriots.  He will go down as one of the best linebackers ever at Tennessee and looks to have a great pro career ahead of him.  I’d say he overachieved his three-star rating from Scout and exceeded his four-star rating from Rivals.

Rivals.com Rating: 4 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Overachiever

 

Xavier Mitchell  DE  6'4" 245  Long Beach, Mississippi

Played in 12 games as a freshman and eight in his sophomore season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.  As a junior started 11 games and had 43 tackles and four sacks.  Had a solid senior season with 51 tackles and two sacks.  Mitchell was a solid two-year starter for the Vols.

Rivals.com Rating: 4 star

Scout.com Rating: 4 star

Final Verdict: Hit

 

Anthony Parker  OG  6'4" 290  Lovejoy, Georgia

Redshirted in 2004.  Started the Florida game at center as a freshman and played in six others.  Started 12 games as a sophomore and all 14 as a junior.  Was All-SEC as a junior and 3rd team All-American according to Rivals.com.  Is a preseason All-American by most media outlets for his 2008 senior season.  He has definitely exceeded his three-star rating coming out of high school.

Rivals.com Rating: 3 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Overachiever

 

Antonio Reynolds  DE  6'2" 235  Chatham, Virginia

Played sparingly as a freshman and sophomore, but started 11 games as a junior in 2006 and had 37 tackles and a sack.  In 2007 as a senior he had 31 tackles and three sacks.  Was a two-year starter for the Vols but was never very productive.

Rivals.com Rating: 3 star

Scout.com Rating: 4 star (LB)

Final Verdict: Bust

 

Brent Schaeffer  QB  6'3" 190  Deerfield Beach, Florida

Brent immediately jumped into a starting role for the Vols, becoming the first true freshman QB to start a season opener for an SEC team since Georgia's John Rauch in 1945.  After a solid freshman season in which he shared time with Erik Ainge, Schaeffer was dismissed from the Vols after a series of troubles, one of which involved Schaeffer being caught on camera assaulting a student with a weapon.  Schaeffer went to junior college and later on to Ole Miss.

Rivals.com Rating: 4 star

Scout.com Rating: 5 star

Final Verdict: Bust

 

Albert Toeania (JC)  OT  6'7" 365  San Francisco, California

Split time junior and senior years and was a decent to good offensive lineman, but he never lived up to his five-star ranking.

Rivals.com Rating: 5 star

Scout.com Rating: 5 star

Final Verdict: Bust

 

James Turner  LB  6'0" 205  Augusta, Arkansas

Was limited to special teams work and never made any kind of impact.  Was dismissed in 2007 for violation of team rules.  Never did anything worth mentioning, so he will definitely go down as a bust.

Rivals.com Rating: 2 star

Scout.com Rating: 2 star

Final Verdict: Bust

 

Ja’Kouri Williams  RB  5'11" 185  Plaquemine, Louisiana

Redshirted in 2004.  Played on special teams his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons. Thought about quitting football after redshirt junior season but later decided that he did want to use his last year of eligibility and will be a senior in 2008.

Unless he does something unexpected and makes a big impact somewhere this year, he will likely be a total bust.  Doesn't seem to be anywhere near the top of the depth chart at any position and will likely finish his career on special teams.

Rivals.com Rating: 3 star

Scout.com Rating: 4 star

Final Verdict: Bust

 

Ellix Wilson  DB  6'0" 205  Memphis, Tennessee

Got on the field in 12 games as a true freshman at linebacker and registered seven tackles in 2004.  In 2005 he appeared in only one game and redshirted due to not properly recovering from an injury experienced that spring.  In 2006 as a redshirt sophomore Ellix accounted for 13 tackles.  As a redshirt junior started one game and had 30 tackles and three sacks as Tennessee’s first linebacker off the bench.

Wilson is expected to start this fall at inside linebacker and looks to be one of the Vols' top linebackers. He will likely go past his two or three-star rating coming out of high school, but you can't say for sure, so the verdict is still out on him

Rivals.com Rating: 2 star

Scout.com Rating: 3 star

Final Verdict: Still Out

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