By Wes Rucker, firstname.lastname@example.org
KNOXVILLE - University of Tennessee football coaches expected to have a 26-member recruiting class signed and sealed today.
The Volunteers are probably finished at 25, and the one loss was a big loss, but first-year coach Derek Dooley and his staff still corralled a top 10 caliber class in mere weeks.
Four-star defensive tackle prospect J.C. Copeland from LaGrange, Ga., a longtime UT commitment who recently reaffirmed his pledge to the Volunteers, stunned coaches early this morning by signing with LSU. It's not clear how much communication Copeland had with the Vols in the past 24 hours, but the punishing pass rusher told several people on Tuesday that he planned to sign with UT. He visited LSU late in the recruiting process and claimed to enjoy the trip, however.
UT's class turned for the better a few hours later. As expected, the Vols received national letters of intent from five-star, Calhoun High School wide receiver prospect Da'Rick Rogers and four-star, Nashville offensive lineman James Stone.
Rogers, one of the nation's top overall prospects, had been committed to Georgia for months before calling Bulldogs coach Mark Richt earlier this week and switching to the Vols. But Rogers, a teammate and close friend of UT quarterback signee Nash Nance, declined to comment on the record until this morning.
Stone, who claimed to always favor UT but didn't like its former coaching staff, chose the Vols over Alabama shortly after meeting Dooley and publicly stated his choice this morning on ESPNU.
Dooley, in his first interview since his introductory press conference at UT, told ESPN reporters this morning that the Vols signing class was complete. In theory, though, UT would have room to snag a player or two in the coming days.
The 25 confirmed parts of UT's 2010 signing class are listed below.
John Brown DT 6-2, 285, 4 stars Lakeland, Fla. (NE Mississippi CC)
Dave Clark DB 6-2, 190, 4 stars Baton Rouge, La. (Independence CC)
Raiques Crump LB 6-1, 210, 2 stars Adamsville, Ala. (Minor)
Marcques Dixon DB 5-10, 182, 3 stars Decatur, Ga.
Zach Fulton OL 6-4, 306, 3 stars Homewood, Ill.
Justin Hunter WR 6-4, 175, 4 stars Virginia Beach, Va.
Martaze Jackson DE 6-2, 202, 3 stars Demopolis, Ala.
Eddrick Loften DB 5-10, 195, 4 stars Irving, Texas
Nash Nance QB 6-3, 205, 2 stars Calhoun, Ga.
Rajion Neal RB 5-10, 215, 4 stars Tyrone, Ga.
Marques Pair OL 6-6, 260, 3 stars Sumter, S.C.
Michael Palardy PK 6-0, 170, 3 stars Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
John Propst LB 6-2, 215, 3 stars Hoover, Ala.
Mychal Rivera TE 6-4, 230, 3 stars Van Nuys, Calif. (College of the Canyons)
Da'Rick Rogers WR 6-3, 205, 5 stars Calhoun, Ga.
Dontavis Sapp DB 6-3, 205, 2 stars Valdosta, Ga.
James Stone OL 6-5, 297, 4 stars Nashville
*Tyler Bray QB 6-6, 180, 4 stars Kingsburg, Calif.
*Channing Fugate FB 6-2, 230, 3 stars Jackson, Ky.
*Ja'Wuan James OL 6-6, 293, 4 stars Suwanee, Ga.
*Ted Meline WR 6-3, 170, 4 stars Miami
*Corey Miller DE 6-4, 230, 4 stars Duncan, S.C.
*Matt Milton WR 6-6, 190, 4 stars Mascoutah, Ill.
*Matt Simms QB 6-3, 215, 3 stars Ramsey, N.J. (El Camino CC)
*Jacques Smith DE 6-3, 230, 4 stars Ooltewah
Read Thursday's Times Free Press for more UT coverage.
Other contacts for Wes Rucker are www.twitter.com/wesrucker and www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.
By noon the majority of the area's college-bound prep football players had signed their paperwork and were back in class. A total of 36 area players signed scholarships, including 10 to Football Bowl Subdivision programs and six of those went to Southeastern Conference schools.
Only two members of the Times Free Press' Dynamite Dozen have yet to sign their paperwork and each of those - LaFayette receiver Dimitri Miles and Cleveland athlete Terrell Parks - have several offers to choose from.
1. Jacques Smith Ooltewah DL 6-3, 238 Signed with Tennessee
2. Da'Rick Rogers Calhoun WR 6-2, 200 Signed with Tennessee
3. Jalen Fields Dalton DE 6-5, 250 Signed with Georgia
4. Keon Williams Red Bank RB 6-1, 215 Signed with UT-Chattanooga
5. Martez Eastland Ringgold FB-LB 6-0, 235 Signed with Ole Miss
6. Nash Nance Calhoun QB 6-4, 200 Signed with Tennessee
7. Nermin Delic Northwest Whitfield TE-DE 6-5, 246 Signed with Kentucky
8. Dimitri Miles Lafayette WR 6-2, 190 undecided
9. Terrell Robinson South Pittsburg DB 6-4, 195 Signed with UT-Chattanooga
10. DeVaughn Buchanan Ridgleand LB 6-0, 205 Signed with Murray State
11. Jiajuan Fennell South Pittsburg TE-DE 6-4, 222 Signed with MTSU
12. Terrell Parks Cleveland Ath-DE 5-11, 175 undecided
Area football signees
Kedron Aker Calhoun DB Alabama-Birmingham
LaGreg Burns Lakeview-F.O. RB Eastern Kentucky
Devin Caldwell Boyd-Buchanan OL UT-Chattanooga
Deountre Davis Central DB LaGrange College
Chris Deloney Howard WR Tennessee State
Anthony Douglas Lookout Valley DL Campbellsville (Ky.)
Jared Duke Walker Valley OL Ole Miss
Kevin Fortson RedBank DL Northeast Oklahoma A&M (J.C.)
Channing Gordon Baylor DB Mt. Union
Dewaun Harrison Ridgeland DB Butler Jr. College
David Knowles Howard OL Clark University
Derrick Laney Lakeview-FO DL West Georgia
Keith Mayes Red Bank LB UT-Chattanooga
Tevin McDermott McMinn County DB Appalachian State
Midoho Okpokowuruk McCallie DL Tennessee Tech
Senorise Perry Chattooga Ath Louisville
Ben Prater Baylor LB Davidson
Gerald Putman Ooltewah LB University of the Cumberlands
Maury Ragland McMinn Central DL Alabama State
Cody Ralston Calhoun LB Central Florida
Rashad Ramsey Chattooga QB West Georgia
Zack Rayl McMinn Central LB UT-Chattanooga
Jermaine Williams Brainerd LB Tennessee Tech
Sam Williams Baylor RB Columbia University
Preston Womack Central RB-LB Carson-Newman
Tay Vaughn Wynn Lookout Valley DB Campbellsville (Ky.)
James Stone and Da'Rick Rogers have joined the University of Tennessee class, adding some star power to Derek Dooley's first batch of recruits.
John Brown has also committed to the Vols.
Rogers is the No. 9-ranked player in the nation according to Rivals and Stone is a four-star offensive lineman who plats a position of need for the Vols.
The additions were welcome surprises on this signing day that has been full of them. UT lost two prized commitments when defensive lineman J.C. Copeland picked LSU and linebacker Glen Stanley picked LSU.
Currently the Vols' recruiting class is ranked No. 8 by Rivals and 19th by Scout.com.
Read more about Rogers' decision as well as UT and Georgia recruiting in Thursday's edition of the Times Free Press.
UT's recent surge in recruiting has taken two hits this morning. High four-star defensive line recruit J.C. Copeland decommitted and signed with LSU, and junior college linebacker Glen Stanley signed with USC.
Here is the report from our UT beat writer Wes Rucker:
"Welcome to recruiting, guys. Copeland committed to Vols since the summer, reaffirmed last week, then ... boom, LSU." - TFP sports writer Wes Rucker, via his Twitter
Here are the new Vols officially in the fold as of this morning:
Spring semester enrolles
QB Tyler Bray
ATH Channing Fugate
OL Jawuan James
ATH Ted Meline
DE Corey Miller
WR Matt Milton
QB Matt Simms
DE Jacques Smith
DB Dave Clark
LB Raiques Crump
ATH Marcques Dixon
OL Zach Fulton
DB Eddrick Loften
RB Rajion Neal
OL Marques Pair
K Michael Palardy
DB Dontavis Sapp
Georgia's next wave of football players appears to be set as the Bulldogs appear finished with national signing day barring a major surprise.
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt addressed the fans gathered here and will meet with the media after lunch.
Georgia added 18 signees Wednesday, including six defensive lineman. Richt also announced Wednesday morning that Richard Samuel, who entered last season as the starter at tailback, will be moved to linebacker this spring.
Here's a look at the new Bulldogs after a crazy early part of the week that featured Da'Rick Rogers' decommitment and decision to sign with Tennessee and former commitment Nickell Roby's decision to sign with USC.
- David Paschall from Athens, Ga.
SIGNED LETTER OF INTENT
LB Demetre Baker
OL Brent Benedict
WR Michael Bennett
DE Brandon Burrows
DB Marc Deas
DE Jalen Fields
OL Kenarious Gates
DB Jakar Hamilton
OL Kolton Houston
RB Ken Malcome
QB Hutson Mason
DE Dexter Morant
DB Alec Ogletree
RB Alexander Ogletree
DB Derek Owens
DT Garrison Smith
DE T.J. Stripling
DT Mike Thornton
Check back for more as the day moves forward.