Compared to last season recruiting is off to a fast start. Tennessee has been pulling up the rear in verbal commits, but as of late there has been a sudden surge. The list now stands at 12 strong. To finish strong, the Vols might need to follow in the footsteps of other SEC schools and land a few high profile recruits just to keep up appearances. Here are a few players that Tennessee has offered and could be the caveat that puts the rest of the SEC on notice that Derek Dooley does indeed know how to recruit.
With Prentiss Waggner and Janzen Jackson knocking on the NFL's door, landing a couple of superb safeties would definitely be a good thing.
6'0" 203lb. Landon Collins is listed as the No.2 safety nationally. In his junior year he tallied 102 tackles and four interceptions. His 40 time has been clocked at 4.42, so speed isn't a problem. He has a 36 inch vertical, which is hampered somewhat by his bulk. In all, he covers the field extremely well. He has a tendency to bleed away from the passing lanes on pump fakes and gets a little distracted on hand-offs, but he recovers nicely with his speed.
You can never have too many defensive tackles. This young man could be the best for years to come.
6'5" 295lb. Ellis McCarthy is listed as the No. 4 DT nationally. In his junior year, he compiled 69 tackles and 10 sacks. His 40 has been clocked at 4.90, which is just fine considering his first steps are much quicker.
McCarthy doesn't appear to be the most agile DL, but what he lacks in footwork he makes up for in sheer brutality. He has no problem with line penetration, and moves extremely well laterally.
Still, a redshirt would make this guy an ace up the sleeve for Lance Thompson. Which leaves this question: McCarthy has expressed interest in being a Vol....so why isn't there an offer on the table?
Derek Dooley has yet to add an offensive lineman to his growing list of verbals. Signing this man would be huge. And OL coach Harry Hiestand probably wouldn't ask for a raise.
6'6" 262lb. D.J. Humphries didn't allow a sack in his sophomore or junior season. In 2010 he was also named to the Associated Press All-State team. He is listed as the No.5 DT nationally.
Humphries' 40 has been clocked at 4.92. He is a little light for such a superb blocker, but it leaves plenty of room for strength coach Ron McKeefery to bulk him up the right way. I have studied the film and I just can't find any faults. He has great hands off the snap and he moves down field almost as fast as the runners he's blocking for. It makes a lot of sense to redshirt him and sit on him like a pile of gold.
Now would be a good time to make sure these kind of offers don't slip away.
6'6" 310lb. Vadal Alexander finished his season without any huge parades for his efforts, but he did catch the eye of more than 27 different major universities, including every SEC school except for Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
Alexander is listed as the no. 8 OG nationally, although he spent most of his junior year as a LT. For his size he is a little slow, but has great stamina and usually lasts until the final whistle. He will need to relocate some of his weight to be more effective, but his leverage is already a great compliment to his strength and jump off the snap.
The DE position will at best be treading water after this season unless a star arises.
6'4" 240lb. Noah Spence is ranked no. 1 at DE nationally. In his junior year Spence accumulated 101 tackles/ 34 for loss, 22 sacks, 9 forced fumbles/ 3 recovered. His 40 has been clocked at 4.65, but rumors say that he has trimmed that time to a 4.51.
Spence has earned accolades throughout his high school career, and earned All-State honors last season. He is good at reading the QB and runners, but seems a little perplexed by pass rushing. His biggest strength is shrugging off blockers and using his long arms to snare on the lateral moves.
Regardless of what the scouting agencies say I don't think he should be ranked as the No.1 DE, but at this stage beggars can't be choosers. Not that the Vols or Dooley would beg.
A one-man wrecking crew can do great things when he has help.
6'2" 228lb. Dalton Santos collected 90 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 broken pass plays, and one forced fumble in his junior season. He has been clocked at 4.65 for the 40, but camp officials say he is much faster.
Santos is the No.4 rated MLB nationally. Santos is the ideal MLB you want controlling the run and he is perfect at crowding receivers and TEs into man coverage. He is exactly what DC Justin Wilcox wants.
Paired with Curt Maggitt, Santos could bloom into one of those defensive LBs a school sees once every decade. Yes, he could be an Al Wilson. And the best part is he is really liking the Vols.
When any ripples are visible in a Texas pond you can be sure it's a big fish.
6'3" 210lb. Brian Nance tallied 175 tackles, 5 interceptions (three returned for TD), and two sacks in his junior season. He is ranked as the no. 11 OLB, but should probably be ramled somewhere around no. 5.
Although an official time has not been established for Nance's 40, recruiting sources say a good estimate is around 4.55.
I can't find anything wrong with his performance or ability. Being trained on the next level would guarantee an NFL career. He would be the cherry on top for the Vols