published Thursday, February 7th, 2013

5-at-10: National recruiting rewind and local recruiting grades

Gang, remember Friday's mailbag, and we hope you had a very Merry ReCruitmas, let's review.

From the final round ReCruitmas Command Center at the "Talk too much" studios, just the fax ma'am...

National recruiting rewind

Let's breakdown the national classes with a silent tip of the cowboy hat to a wordless Clint Eastwood in "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly."

The Good

Wow, Ole Miss did work. How much you ask? Well, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze was answering questions about recruiting tactics and he had to say he and his staff did everything above board. Yep, if your class is so good that people are asking if you broke rules on national signing day, then you did work. Ole Miss landed the No. 1 player (Robert Nkemdiche), the No. 1 offensive tackle (Laremy Tunsil), the No. 1 wide receiver (Laquan Treadwell) and the No. 2 safety (Antonio Conner) in the country according to ESPN.

The Bad

How about these apples: After a record-setting season that included a Sugar Bowl win over Florida that likely earned them a spot in the preseason Top 10 next fall, the Louisville Cardinals were smoked in recruiting by Kentucky. Charlie Strong and the Cards got 16 commits and finished 57th nationally according to Rivals.com; UK, which made a hard charge in the final week, climbed to No. 27 overall and stole players from USC (Jason Hatcher) and Nebraska (Marcus McWilson). Runner-up: Georgia Tech landed just 14 commits and finished in the mid-80s nationally. Not the kind of buzz the Jackets need, huh Spy? (And yes, we know that you and PJ would rather talk the international trade-deficit with Iceland than recruiting rankings, but perception can be reality. You know this.)

The Ugly

Arkansas running back commit Alex Collins, a top-100 player and one of the jewels of the Hogs class, did not fax his letter of intent Wednesday morning as planned. Collins had not flipped back to Miami, where his mother was hoping he would sign. Nope, Collins had to try to find his mother, who must sign the letter of intent. The mother, you see, up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T rather than agree to Collins signing with the Hogs.

————

Local recruiting grades

Here's our view on the signing class of the four teams that we consider in our area:

Tennessee — B

Butch Jones and the Vols deserve an A for effort, but last-minute plunges and Hail Marys are tough to connect. UT saw this time and time again Wednesday, and finishing second is as good as finishing 102nd. The class was filled with dichotomies: UT finished 20th nationally, but 10th in the SEC; UT landed two highly regarded QBs, a position of great need, but landed just one RB and one LB, also positions of great need; UT hit a home run with receiver MarQuez North to fill the biggest position of need, but was thrown for a loop by safety Vonn Bell's decision to go to THE Ohio State in another position of great need. We think this was a solid-to-good class that Jones deserves a ton of credit for and of which Johnny Vols Fans everywhere can expect most of the crew to contribute if not star. The best news of course is that Jones' dogged effort and determination in this cycle bodes well for further recruiting seasons.

Georgia — B-

Yes, Georgia is ranked 12th nationally, so a C+/B- may seem harsh. But not unlike the Vols' grade, which is a touch higher than the talent may seem to warrant, Georgia's grade is as much about procedure and possibilities as it is prospects. Jones and the Vols staff saved a class that was ranked in the mid-40s with a hard charge to the finish line; Georgia had a class in the top seven before Rodney Garner left for Auburn, and the Bulldogs started sliding. Plus, the numbers breakdown of this class — UGA signed eight defensive backs — is puzzling. The numbers of what could have been with this class considering the way Georgia normally recruits in-state make 'B-' seem kind of generous. The Peach State was flush with talent but Georgia landed just one of the state's top 12 players and missed on each of the state's four five-star players as Nkemdiche went to Ole Miss, Bell went to Ohio State, and Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson went to Auburn.

UTC — B+

The more we look at this class, the more we like it. Another running back would have been nice, but there is depth and ability on the perimeter offensively (and receiver is among the Mocs' biggest immediate needs) and some serious potential and talent in the defensive front seven. UTC's class may not be as highly ranked as App State's (15 commits, 14 two-stars and one three-star) or located in as talent-rich region as Georgia Southern, but the Mocs did work. Hats off to Russ Huesman and Co., especially Will Healy. We expect big things from D.J. Prather and T.J. Jenkins.

Alabama — A+

Duh. You know Alabama's haul was ranked in the top three by almost all recruiting services. You know it's going to be flushed with star-studded playmakers at every position. You know that Nick Saban was going to talk about the process and the system and the chance to be contribute. You know, blah, blah, blah. Did you know this? To prove that Saban is the fifth-grade bully on the first-grade playground that is recruiting, dominating at an historic cherry-picking level, Saban landed the best player in Louisiana, the best player in Arkansas, the best player in Texas' signing class, the state of Florida's best running back ever in terms of production, the best tight end in the country and the best inside linebacker in America, who had an Auburn tattoo on his arm. Take that Hugh Freeze.

————

Say what?

OK, Joe Flacco's agent is supposed to be his biggest supporter. We get that and understand it.

But really, Jerry Maguire-wanna-be, you believe Joe Flacco deserves to be the highest-paid QB in the league? You really believe this? Guy has four good weeks and quarterbacks a Super Bowl winner and he's in line for $20 million per? Riiiiighhttttt.

OK, we'll play along. Here are the three claims based very loosely in one-fact-supported logic that we can toss out there:

— Kevin Sumlin is the best coach in college football. Hey he beat Nick Saban, so give Kev $10 mil and the keys to the Ferrari.

— Fill in the blank: Ravens player X deserves to be the highest-paid player at position X because they just won Super Bowl.

— The New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders are ready to crash the Final Four, because the Highlanders beat Fairleigh Dickinson, which beat Mount Saint Mary's, which beat Central Connecticut beat Wagner, which beat SMU, which beat TCU, which beat Kansas, which beat Ohio State, which beat Michigan.

Book it. N.J.I.T. is going a long way in the Dance, right, Joe' Flacco's Jerry Maguire?

————

This and that (name that movie quote edition)

— Did we see that right? The U.S lost to Honduras? Hey, we don't follow soccer — about the only two things we know about soccer are A) Can't use your hands and B) The offside rule stinks — but the U.S. shouldn't lose to Honduras in anything. "And we're not going to stand here and let you bad mouth the United State of America. Gentleman."

— Want to know something that pleased us during the craziness that was ReCruitmas? The limited number of Mixture Hat Dances we saw. That's a trend we can embrace. "You buy a hat like that you get a free bowl of soup. Looks good on you though."

— During the ESPNU coverage of ReCruitmas on Wednesday, new levels of awkward irony were reached. Former Vols coach Derek Dooley was asked to discuss Vonn Bell the player and his recruitment, even though we all know that UT's inactivity toward Bell during Dooley's tenure is a big reason THE area's top player is heading to THE Ohio State rather than Knoxville. Then Montravius Adams, the five-star defensive tackle who picked Auburn, was asked about the Tigers new coaching staff and how it affected his commitment. Adams was over-the-top with his praise of the new Auburn staff. Gene Chizik was in studio. "So your saying there's a chance." Or "We're... We're going streaking! We're going up the quad and to the gymnasium... There's more coming... Honey you think KFC is still open." (A final option: "Now go grab your shine box.")

— There's being bad and there's being tough to watch. UT hoops has managed to do both recently and that's less than good. Sure, the Vols have struggled without their best player, Jeronne Maymon. Yes, Trae Golden has been unexpectedly unproductive. And yes, as friend of the show Charlotte's Web frequently notes, the turnovers have crippled this bunch. But at some point those hurdles have to be addressed and cleared, no? Plus, it's almost shameful how they are wasting a renaissance season from Jordan McRae. "Not wasting anything. I got a Porsche already; a 911 with a quadraphonic Blaupunkt."

— We're going to swing by the 105.1 show sometime today — likely around 3, but we'll update later — to chat recruiting and such with Jim Gumm and Wells Guthrie. Grab a listen, "Don't cost nothing."

————

Today's questions

Remember about the mailbag, and let's take three different approaches here.

First, feel free to fire any recruiting questions.

If you need a starting point, answer us this, has anyone ever done a better job of turning his persona into a marketable character and then really only playing that character in a series of movies more than Steven Seagal? Think about it, even Arnold and Sly Stallone had different turns where actual acting was invovled. Not Seagal, who quite frankly played Steven Seagal in every role to the point that he's not a member of the Screen Actor's Guild; he's a member of the Screen Seagal Guild. Is George Hamilton close? What about Kim Kardashian?

Finally, we're looking for top-five lists that would interest you folks. We're taking the family to Disney next week and need to load up some 5-at-10 ideas in the can. Thoughts?

Help us Obie ones, you're our only hope.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
jomo11 said...

Jay- you and I need to work on "building a relationship" . . . .that had to be the most overused, BS phrase we heard all day, yesterday. . . . that and it was amazing how many recruits on ESPNU said they were looking forward to giving their new "school" the next 3 years of their lives. . er, not the 4 it takes to get an education . . . .oh well, sign of the times and power of the NFL. . . . . .also, did you find it amazing that Alabama had players from 13 different states in their signing class ? . . .the power of national TV, etc ?

February 7, 2013 at 10:09 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Kudos to the TFP for thier NSD coverage although complimenting Hargis is troubling (LOL)...Vonn Bell should be complimented for his demeanor at the announcement class personified...your Caddyshack reference is well played...Good reference of the tan man George Hamilton...although he did an outstanding job as the Tom Hagen wannabe in Godfather III, and let us not forget his turn as Hank Williams Sr in "Your Cheating Heart" in 1964...Very impressed by the Mocs class and the excitement among the supporters at the gathering last night...

February 7, 2013 at 10:26 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

Alabama's roll right now is epic.

Great stat on 13 states. Even more impressive to us, is that Saban is getting five-star kids to come wait their turn when those same kids would be Day 1 starters at most every other SEC school. Case in point: Reuben Foster is a Day 1 starter at at least half the teams in the SEC. Alabama, he'll lucky to make the travel squad.

OG —

Will pass along the kudos, and yes, Vonn did right by himself, his family — immediate and extended — his community and the whole ball of wax.

— 5-at-10

February 7, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.
chas9 said...

Speaking of former Vols coaches common tating, Bruce has turned out to have some flair, unlike some grouchy, boring old guys who should give it up. I'm talking to you, General Knight.

But can the NJIT beat the Sam Houston Institute of Technology?

If Alex Collins' mama can outrun Alex, maybe Arkansas is recruiting the wrong family member. Is there a "reality" show in the making here?

I think you're more than fair in the Gawga grade. They expect better. And Gawga Tech is really sad. Much worse than Louisville. Yes, UK bettered the Cardinals, but UL stole a 3-star QB from Lexington, leaving The Cats incoming class with only one signal caller, Signal's 3-star but lower regarded Reese Phillips who enrolled in January. But very likely Kentucky's best class ever.

I saw what you did yesterday referring to the other brother Stoops, like the unforgettable Brothers Darryl on Newhart.

Yes, Big Orange basketball is officially painful. I'd add that it's a shame to waste Stokes' season, too (the way he's playing now). The team whose strength is supposed to be defense allowed The Bulldogs to hit 50%. In fairness, they seemed to catch Gawga just as they're catching fire. KCP is a MAN.

February 7, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Kaw-liga is less wooden than Steven Seagal.

Tech's recruiting class has some keepers - Travis Custis (whom Alabama tried to poach but was rebuffed), Shamire Devine and Chris Griffin, two monstrous OLs. Plus, the Jackets got a kicker. Which they needed. Badly.

Losing Mitchell, Ramos and Douglas late really hurts. Johnson and his staff do all this leg work to identify and recruit top players and two of them got snaked by a SEC program - another going to an ACC school - that realized Tech might be on to something with these kids.

If Corn Elder comes to The Flats, it can be a solid class. Tech didn't have many scholarships to give out anyway - it had a small senior class with no one expected to jump to the NFL early. They're losing a couple of guys who are either graduating early (hey, there's a novel occurrence in today's college football landscape) or who are just moving on. PJ has redshirted most of his last few signing classes, so there are a lot of freshmen and sophomores already in the pipeline.

And just wait until the world gets a load of more Vad Lee and sees Justin Thomas in action.

February 7, 2013 at 11:08 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

On my way home from work yesterday, Galloway (the anti-matter Dr. B), made the declaration that the NCAA needs to make National Signing Day a closed event. This steamed from an article in yesterday's DMN where a commitment from A&M declared "Yeah, we have the potental to win two or three national championships". His point being the source of the quote is not even on the two deep roster and he's predicting national championships. Go fig.

Speaking of..did the envelope from Texas arrive?

Enjoyed Frierson's article this morning. As a longtime Mocs fan, I've had my doubts. (from yesterday) Maxium penned it right regarding low expectations in this town. But this almost sounds like we're recruiting the right players for the right positions. Right now, I'm not hardcore for the gridiron anytime soon as I feel this is going to be a good year overall (for non-sport related reasons). Also, there's the NCAA women's tournament and the Masters (assuming Mr. Fox does not wash out on the first round). And then there is April 5th.

February 7, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, what's the low down on Vol football academics, and what exactly can Coach Jones do to wrest more control from the administration in this regard?

February 7, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

OG,

Great call on Mr. Hamilton as the family lawyer (after Duvall allegedly wanted more money, so Tom Hagen was essentially kiled off) and a great turn as America's greatest songwriter.

February 7, 2013 at 11:38 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

OG wrote-

"Very impressed by the Mocs class and the excitement among the supporters at the gathering last night..."

How many there were under 60? How many fingers on one hand? ::rim shot::

Note to Jay- I KNOW that is the people with the money. But it would be nice to hear of possible younger alumni or (lord forbid) those hot, half-nakked tarts I see at the big boy college games when televised game "X" is focused on the stands. I don't believe their actual students but I don't know if can rent those or not (yes, I seriously did write that).

February 7, 2013 at 11:46 a.m.
chas9 said...

Spy's right to dispyze the recruiting hype machine. And he's double right that SS is more wooden than the proverbial Indian in front of the cigar store. The first time I saw a Seagal flick, I thought he was too bad for it even to be a spoof of the genre. Billy Shatner is on the list. Definitely KK, maybe Pam Anderson. Dangerfield was more talented than Seagal, but he did pretty much play himself. Andre the Giant?

February 7, 2013 at 11:59 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Tennessee basketball is nauseating right now. I tuned into last nights game and they were flashing 7 turnovers by TN "Oh that's not bad for a game...." I look down and there was 10 minutes left in the first quarter. "Gooo!!" I fully expected for them to pan over to Conz and lasers be shooting out of his eyes. This has been the story all year. I haven't been able to sit through a game in its entirety without being disgusted to the point of turning it off.

In other basketball news, after watching that Michigan / Ohio State game the other night and a few others of Michigan, they seem pretty reliant on the three ball to the point that it could be their downfall. What do they say about living by the sword?

Movie Trivia huh? We'll go with Animal House, Caddyshack, Old School, option B: Goodfellas(you missed a few choice words...), Bull Durham (I think I have spent the last three nights watching Shawshank. Its an unstoppable force once you set eyes on it. Damn you AMC), and then Animal House again. Yes! Victory! You can mail my tshirt to Todd's Love Shack, Red Bank, TN 37405.

February 7, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Dangerfield, in a rare career choice, did step out of his comfort zone to play an abusive father in "Natural Born Killers". I think the only time I've ever seen Andre act was in "The Princess Bride". SS pretty much suffers from the same issue as a lot of "action" stars (like Jason Staten for example). They're really more cut out to play stunt doubles than to carry a movie.

February 7, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--Thanks for reminding me of Rodney's short but fine turn in NBK, a vastly under-rated movie. Woody got un-woody enough to be perfect in his role. Great soundtrack, too.

962--Where can I get a TV that divides basketball games up into quarters? Mine only shows halves. But my memory is that UT had as many turnovers as baskets in the first period.

February 7, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Chas, you can get those TVs lots of places. I used a coupon for mine that I found at the bottom of my eighth beer.

February 7, 2013 at 12:47 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

Those coupons at the bottom of the eighth beer rock. Our favorite "The Ninth Beer will be even better." It's like a beer fortune cookie.

And we need to use "Gooo" more frequently.

"So you're saying there's a chance" you got them all, huh? There was actually three quotes in the third item. Yes, we're sneaky like that because it's getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for 10, I'm probably gonna have to barf up a lung. So, I better make this one count.

9er —

You actually bring up a pretty good actor at acting like himself — Bob Newhart.

JMC —

Yes the envelope arrived. And great call on Jason what's his name. And how could we forget Keanu Reeves? Wow. Completely our bad.

And your point about the age of the UTC fan base would be an excellent full show come the summer months.

Spy —

Corn Elder would be a star in PJ's offense. Period end of discussion.

Love Kowliga. Good times on Lake Martin.

February 7, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
Todd962 said...

If I were to start a religion, Dumb and Dumber would be my bible, and we would be known as the Followers of Noogieburger.

February 7, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

JMC...SPEAKING OFF THE CUFF..PROBABLY 55% OF THE CROWD WAS UNDER 60...THERE IS SOME IMPROVEMENT IN THE AGE RANGE...

February 7, 2013 at 2:35 p.m.
jgreeson said...

962 —

OK. What are the virtues of the Followers of Noogieburger?

Be kind to animals, especially pretty birds, pretty birds.

Spare the snowball and spoil the Owl.

Make a yearly pilgrimage to someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called Aspen.

Thoughts?

February 7, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.
chas9 said...

Did you see the story about the Clarksville man who quit his job after getting a tax form numbered 666? Here's sayin' that number wouldn't bother Nick Satan. Clearly he's sold his soul to the dark side to get the recruits Bama's getting. And isn't Clarksville where Robert Johnson went down to the crossroads?

February 7, 2013 at 2:41 p.m.
Todd962 said...

I dont know about Aspen, Jay, the french are a-holes. But it looks like you just made yourself my second disciple behind the one you call Gonz. You've got some good thoughts there. How does a company vehicle of a '84 Sheepdog sound to sweeten the pot? We are a non-profit of course. Any additional procedes are donated to our charitable pet store, I Got Worms. The eucharist will be served in Big Gulps with bowls of popcorn. There will strickly no gambling allowed in the House of Noogieburger, and I'll give you three to one odds if you think I'm lying. So shoot it to me straight, what are the chances, shall the seal it on a Tic Tac sir?

February 7, 2013 at 3 p.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

That's encouraging.

9er —

Bother Saban? Heck, he's looking for a way for the NCAA to allow him to give a jersey with No. 666 on it. Then every recruiting cycle he can promise it to a five-star defensive lineman and say, "Son, you have to embrace the process and in some point in the future you could become such a monster you'll get to wear the number of the beast. (Well, unless we recruit your replacement and you are left to watch games from the third row of the student section.)

962 —

Bad jokes and mildly insulting religious references du jour?

That sounds good. We think we'll have that.

— 5-at-10

February 7, 2013 at 3:07 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

OG wrote:

"JMC...SPEAKING OFF THE CUFF..PROBABLY 55% OF THE CROWD WAS UNDER 60...THERE IS SOME IMPROVEMENT IN THE AGE RANGE"

::thumb up:: JonathanMCook likes this.

February 7, 2013 at 3:38 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

All over the place today, looks like I picked a bad time to start taking ADD medicine.

No comments on the Titans hiring Greg "I'll pay" Williams?

February 7, 2013 at 4:26 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Who?

February 7, 2013 at 4:34 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - It's 7:20 on Thursday evening. You're about to take a hiatus. Can you answer a last minute question for the Friday mailbag? If the president announced today that sporting events were going to be rationed and each citizen was allowed to view only 4 each calendar year, which 4 would you choose? I got the Daytona 500, March Madness (counts as one), the Masters, and the SEC championship game. Love the 5 at 10. Enjoy the time off. Do Mission Space at Epcot. Guaranteed not for the faint of heart.

February 7, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
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