2011: Juniors Could Be All Smiles For Tennessee's Dooley
Coach Dooley proudly announced on signing day that he signed players from 11 different states, big surprise. Tennessee has never been known as a font of in-state talent and after looking at the 2011 juniors I don't expect that to change, at least not this season.
One thing that "He who must not be named" did was set the recruiting bar a lot higher for the Vols.
During recent seasons Fulmer spent much of his time picking up mediocre, low-hanging fruit from a well that had already run dry; the bumper crop of talent that he was use to reaping was running out the back door for LSU, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and any other place except Knoxville.
Flash forward, and Coach Dooley is drawing from familiar territory again and a few new places. There is legitimate talent that Dooley's southern charm could win over, if these kids come on board, Tennessee could be up to its neck in talent for the next 6-8 years.
I had a chance to look at a bunch of them, here are 10 that could make the Volunteers all smiles should they decide orange is their color of choice.
1. QB Price Litlon 6-3 204lbs, Weddington High School-Mathews, NC. Litlon isn't afraid to scramble and can cover ground like a "dual threat", he has the touch you want out of a right-handed QB but his release comes off being a little slower than expected, with a few Manning clinics he should have the makings of a superior field general and make any campus more than happy to have his services.
2. ATH Quan Bray 5-11 180lbs, Calloway High School-Hoganville, GA. This kid runs like he was 250lbs and isn't shy about lowering his shoulder in traffic. He reminds me of Jamal Lewis running into all purpose yards instead of away from defenders. If he can put on 20lbs, which I'm sure he could; he will be an improved threat with every snap.
3. ATH Hakeem Flowers 6-2 170lbs, Wade Hampton High School-Greenville, SC. Very fast with great hands on both sides of the ball. He studies the ball well from S or CB, and surprisingly smart in coverage. Great break-away speed that reminds you of Deion Sanders during his FSU days.
4. DE Jermauria Rasco 6-3 250lbs, Evangel Christian Academy-Shereport, LA. He is extremely graceful and fluid for someone of his size. Quick off the line, he can shrug off blockers by beating them to the breach, but stronger linemen can manipulate his shoulders. With a little more development, he is a heartbeat from being a formidable threat.
5. WR Victor Blackwell 6-1 190lbs, Mater Dei High School-Santa Ana CA. He's the stereotypical receiver you would expect coming from the west coast. His high school turned out Matt Barkley, so it's no surprise that most of his success comes from that type of offense. He could fit well with Jim Chaney's playbook. He averages close to 23 yards per catch. Under a QB like Simms or Bray he should do well.
6. ATH Jabriel Washington 5-10 165lbs, Trinity Christian Academy-Jackson, TN. He is simply remarkable from slotback or TB, can spin fast enough that you miss it. At CB, he has the talent to fill the role without coaches remorse. He gets great air which demonstrates deceptively good hands.
7. TE Nick O'Leary 6-4 230lbs, Dwyer High School-Palm Beach Gardens, FL. I love this kid, he reminds me of Jason Witten with his raw talent; big, strong, and agile. You wouldn't like being in front of this kid when he blocks down field, you will be coming off your feet no matter how big you are. He has good hands that look like dinner plates, and hurdles like a track star. If he stays healthy, he will be successful at the next level.
8. OL Watts Dantzler 6-7 314lbs, Dalton High School-Dalton, GA. Powerful and fast for his size. He explodes well from the snap with great awareness. If redshirted, he could be a starter easily, plenty of ability and defender savvy.
9. DT Phillip Dukes 6-3 295, Manning High School-Manning, SC. Big duck in a small pond. This kid outclasses every DT and OL in his area. He is a great athlete, the only downside is competition. Would love to see him up against top tier school evenly matched. I believe he has the talent, but I am hesitant to bet the house. With proper tutelage he should still be a quality tackler capable of busting up the run.
10. S Wayne Lyons 5-11 180lbs, Dillard High School-Oakland Park, FL. All the physical attributes you expect from his position, but he seems to get distracted easily and often abandons his assignments. If he can learn to survey the battlefield a little better, he could be dangerous, otherwise he could be a costly liability.
Well...here we go again. Coach Dooley might want to pack early, I wonder if he shows up in a helicopter or a John Deere tractor.
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