While Big Orange fans continue to stew over the finish of the Music City Bowl, Derek Dooley and his Tennessee staff have turned the page and are now focused on the task at hand—recruiting.
Tennessee looks for a strong finish in the final month to close on SEC East rivals Georgia, Florida and South Carolina in the off-field battle for the nation's top prep gridiron athletes.
Currently, Tennessee ranks 22nd nationally in recruiting and eighth in the SEC, according to Rivals.com. More importantly, the Vols are locked in a dead heat with defending SEC East champ South Carolina while looking up at perennial Eastern Division rivals Georgia and Florida.
Nationally, the East stacks up with Georgia at No. 17, Florida close behind at 18, South Carolina at No. 20, with Tennessee closing in at No. 22. Kentucky is No. 42 and Vanderbilt is not ranked in the top 50.
Tennessee currently has 19 commitments and will be looking to add to their class in Head Coach Derek Dooley's first full year of recruiting for the Vols.
Highlighting Tennessee's commitment list so far are 4-star prospects DeAnthony Arnett (WR) from Saginaw, MI; A.J. Johnson (LB) from Gainesville, GA; Maurice Couch (DT-JUCO) from Garden City, KA; Pat Martin (DB) from Greenville, SC; Justin Coleman (DB) from Brunswick, GA; as well as 3-star quarterback and National Gatorade Football Player of the Year Justin Worley from Rock Hill, SC.
Dooley will have his eyes focused on several players in the upcoming Under Armour All-America Game as well as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The Under Armour All-America Game will be broadcast live on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7:00 EST on ESPN from St. Petersburg, FL.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be broadcast live on Saturday, Jan. 8 at noon on NBC from San Antonio, TX.
The Vols have commitments from two players participating in these high school showcase games in Arnett and Johnson and would certainly love to add a few more big names to the Big Orange roster for 2011. National signing day is Feb. 2, 2011.
Players To Watch in the Under Armour All-America Game
Mike Bellamy - 5-Star - RB - 5'10" 185 from Punta Gorda, FL - Verbal - Clemson
Brandon Fulse - 4-Star - TE - 6'4" 250 from Fort Mead, FL
List: Alabama, Auburn, FSU, Miami, Texas Tech
Marcus Jackson - 4-Star - OG - 6'2" 295 from Vero Beach, FL
List: Florida, FSU, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Tennessee
A.J. Johnson - 4-Star - LB - 6'3" 226 from Gainesville, GA - Verbal - Tennessee
Jay Rome - 4-Star - TE - 6'5" 255 from Valdosta, GA
List: Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee
Gabe Wright - 4-Star - DT - 6'3" 285 from Columbus, GA
List: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee
Players To Watch in the Army All-American Game
DeAnthony Arnett - 4-Star - WR - 6'0" 167 from Saginaw, MI - Verbal - Tennessee
Antonio Richardson - 4-Star - LB - 6'6" 310 from Nashville, TN
List: Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Miami, Tennessee, Southern Cal
Jeoffrey Pagan - 4-Star - DE - 6'3" 260 from Asheville, NC
List: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee
C.J. Johnson - 4-Star - LB - 6'2" 225 from Philadelphia, MS - Verbal - Miss. State
Lateek Townsend - 4-Star - LB - 6'2" 200 from Bennettsville, SC
List: Clemson, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, Southern Cal
Jermauria Rasco - 4-Star - DE - 6'3" 249 from Shreveport, LA
List: Alabama, FSU, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas
Lamar Dawson - 4-Star - LB - 6'2" 230 from Danville, KY
List: Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, Southern Cal