Tennessee Vols' Derek Dooley Brings Volunteers Signing Day 2.0

Scott FeltsContributor IJuly 6, 2010

Derek Dooley's late hire by the University of Tennessee didn't give the new head coach much time to engage in recruiting leading up to National Signing Day during the first week of February.  No problemthe Vols’ headman finished with a strong class, despite the short timeframe, and since then, he has been busy bringing Tennessee fans their own mini Signing Day, perhaps as a Christmas in July type of present. 

Yesterday, the Vols, who many believe may not yet be finished with their 2010 class, brought in what many Tennessee fans will consider the bow on top of the recruiting prize. 

Malik Jackson, a 6’4’’ 270 pound defensive end transfer from of all places, Lane Kiffin’s University of Southern California, joined the Vols and will be eligible to play two seasons for Tennessee, beginning this fall. 

Jackson, who will compete for a starting role, was a four-star defensive end prospect in 2008 and was rated the Country’s tenth best weak-side defensive lineman.  Last season, Jackson played in all 13 games for the Trojans and compiled 18 tackles, three and a half sacks, a forced fumble, and two pass deflections. 

Jackson’s arrival is met with heavy support from the Volunteer Nation, not only because it fills a need and helps add scholarship players to the roster, but because Dooley was able to pluck him away from the Vols own Judas Brutus, Lane Kiffin. 

Jackson, who may not be the last Southern California player to move east wasn’t the first player Dooley has added to the roster since Signing Day. 

Here is a list of the players that Dooley has been able to lure from other schools or bring in to help immediately in 2010:

Greg Clark, a 6’4’’ 290 pound defensive tackle from North Side High School in Warner Robbins Georgia, was added to the class. Former Volunteers Anthony Sessions and Jason Respert played at the same high school and Clark heard a great deal about the Vols from Respert, who was an assistant coach for Clark for two years.

Brent Brewer was a three-star wide receiver signee of Florida State University in 2006, but was drafted in the second round of the MLB draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.  Brewer played in 427 games for the Milwaukee franchise in the minor leagues before deciding to give up baseball and return to college and play football. 

Brewer is expected to play safety, and his age and maturity should be a plus for an otherwise young team.  Brewer, who didn’t play at all for Florida State, will have four years of eligibility. 

DeMario Williams is another two sport athlete Dooley reached out to.  Demario was recruited in football by MTSU, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Troy but never played for the Blue Raiders of MTSU on the gridiron.  Williams did play two seasons on the hardwood before deciding to go back to football and did it at Tennessee as a preferred walk-on. 

Williams is entering a deep position for the Vols, but any athlete should be welcome at this point for Tennessee. Williams believes he will have three years of football eligibility.

Darin Gooch is another player brought in at a key position of need by Dooley.  Gooch is a junior college transfer playing the center position on the offensive line.  Gooch, who will also join Tennessee’s School of Engineering, is 6'2'' frame tips the scales at over 300lbs. 

Gooch will have three years to play for the Vols beginning in 2010.

Matt Darr comes into the 2010 expanded class helping an area of great concern over the past several seasons. Darr is a punter and was one of the Country’s best at the position. 

Darr, who played in the US Army All America Game, originally committed to USC and Pete Carroll.  When Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks job, Darr switched schools to Fresno St.  Lane Kiffin then joined the Trojans and, after Signing Day, hired Darr’s position coach from Fresno St to join his staff at USC.  Darr was told he would be released from his Letter of Intent if he wanted to transfer, and he did, only not to Lane Kiffin and USC, but to Derek Dooley and the Vols.  

Darr also played linebacker in high school  and in what seems to be a trend for Dooley, also excelled in time track and field. Darr will have the full four years of eligibility at Tennessee.

Dooley has also brought in at least three other walk-ons from local schools that will help provide depth.  Blake McAmis, a 290 pound offensive lineman from Bradley County; JaRon Toney, a 5’9’’ 165 pound running back form Alcoa; and Caleb Leonard a 6’3’’ 220 pound offensive lineman from Knoxville Halls.

What these nine players mean for Tennessee is hard to measure before the 2010 season begins, but suffice to say, their recruitment shows that Derek Dooley is not content with where the program is and isn’t a pushover when it comes to making his team better.

Dooley and Tennessee recently sent USC a letter informing them that they would be showing interest in every junior and senior on their roster for recruitment to Tennesseea door that was opened by NCAA sanctions against the Trojans announced last month. 

That isn’t the move of a southern gentleman that is content with what he has.  It’s a calculated move by a general that knows he needs to build up his armament as he prepares for battle. It is a move that Tennessee fans should consider a gift, even if it’s not December 25th