InsideTennessee's Recruiting Mailbag

Go "Inside" the UT Recruiting Mailbag for the most in depth look at the Vols recruiting efforts. You ask the questions, our experts have the answers. You won't find this feature anywhere else, giving members more recruiting information than any other recruiting web site.

Who is top five on our LB board and OL board specifically center but whole line?

James' Answer: Lamar Dawson, A.J. Johnson, Jaiari Dunaway and LaTeek Townsend for Gioni Paul sure.

I think Tennessee has confidence in getting Antonio Richardson and the other target is athlete, tight end and defensive end Cameron Clear.

Hampton's Answer: At LB I'd go Lamar Dawson, Lateek Townsend, A.J. Johnson, Gionni Paul, and Jaiari Dunaway. We are trying to get in with Travis Hughes. I don't think there are 5 guys on the OL board. We want Antonio Richardson and Cameron Clear and then be done with it. I am not sure we are really pursuing anybody else. We already have a Center committed, Mack Crowder who is the #9 Center in the country.

What position do you see us finishing very strong in and what position do you see us having the most trouble in?

James' Answer: There is no doubt that the defensive tackle position is the biggest area of concern. Three new names that just appeared in the Junior College ranks in the last few days include Bo Tillman, Terrance Coleman and Leon Mackey. Tennessee is in really good shape with Maurice Couch now, and appears to lead for four star Mickey Johnson. Add Gabe Wright and this could be a stellar class for the Vols.

Hampton's Answer: I see us finishing strong at DT. We are in the top 3-5 for alot of big time DTs including leading for 4star Mickey Johnson. I think we could struggle at DE. Chickillo, Tuitt, and Pagan have already committed, and we are fading with Ray Drew. This leaves Giorgio Newberry and Curt Maggitt as the only uncommitted high profile guys left, and I'm not sure how much of a shot we have with either of them. We are starting to look at some DE guys lower on our board like Jordan Williams, Jesse Hayes, Giovani Francois, and Barron Dixon.

What is the latest on this year's non-qualifiers (Lofton, Brown, Dixon), do you expect either be at Tennessee next year?

James' Answer: Brown is gone to a Division 2 school to play. It appears that both Loften and Dixon are attempting to get qualified this fall so they could enroll in January. Dave Clark is now playing at Louisiana Tech.

Hampton's Answer: Brown will not be here. Loften is going to be a part of the '11 class for sure if he can qualify. The staff wants him here badly. From Dixon's comments this week, it sounds like the staff wants him here as well. Personally, I am now considering Loften and Dixon as commits for the 2011 class.

Since the JC DT Williams committed to Alabama, do you expect Tennessee to pursue JC DT Johnathan Jenkins more than before?

James' Answer: They will work to find some more JC DT's before all is said and done. After the open week, expect more names to appear. I'm still hearing that Sheldon Richardson is a good possibility.

Hampton's Answer: I haven't heard anything about Jenkins, but we definitely want a JUCO DT in this class. The problem is finding one who we both like and that can qualify at an SEC school. Bo Tillman and Leon Mackey are 2 guys whose names have popped up on the radar although Mackey is a Prep guy from Hargrave. We are going to visit Tillman sometime this week. Another name that the staff has contacted is Maurice Hayes, but I am not sure of the interest.

Any reason to believe Vols will go after 2-3 JC DL's to provide 2011 depth?

James' Answer: They will take as many as possible. At least two, possibly three if they can find the right fit for their program.

Hampton's Answer: I think we will take 1 for sure. I don't see us taking more than that. Dooley has admitted that he doesn't like taking JUCO players unless he absolutely has to. Combine Hughes with 1 JUCO guy, a big time high school guy like Wright or Johnson, Walls coming back from injury, and another year of development for Jeffery and Clark and our depth at DT will start to look up.

With the basketball program not being able to recruit off campus, how do you think that will affect recruiting in 2010 and 2011? The problem was excessive phone calls, but can Bruce and company still call recruits from campus? I know its basketball, but this was such a bombshell that I have an interest. I may not be the only one.

James' Answer: The punishment doesn't go into effect until September 24, this is giving the entire coaching staff a chance to do some recruiting before being taken off the road. In fact it's about a two to three week window. Like Hampton said. Most of the work has already been completed, if it's going to do some damage it will be to the 2012 class.

Hampton's Answer: The 2010 class is already on campus. I don't think it will affect the 2011 recruiting much. We already have 2 guys firmly committed and only plan on taking 1 more. We should be able to fill it without too much trouble. 2012 is where it could hurt us. Yes, they can still work the phones.

The Florida talent......Blakely & Watkins - do we have a realistic shot at either of them?

James' Answer: Realistically is probably not he word I would use. Watkins was supposed to come up this weekend for an unofficial but had trouble with his travel plans. Expect him to make it up before the season is over. He and Coach Hinshaw have really hit it off, and we definitely have a shot there. On Blakely, despite being close to committing elsewhere, he is still showing the UT Coaching staff a lot of love. Should be interesting to watch.

Hampton's Answer: I don't consider them too realistic at this point. If we can get them up for a visit, I may change my mind. Watch out for Blakely committing to Auburn in the next couple of weeks.

I read today that Tom Smith is getting some new offers; do you think his commitment to UT is still solid?

James' Answer: He got the Florida offer this week and didn't even blink. Remember Smith has the head coach that made sure that he was truly committed and doesn't allow other teams to recruit his players once committed. Very solid.

Hampton's Answer: Yes, I think he is solid to us. When he told the reporter he picked up the offers, he made it clear he was going to sign with the Vols. If we see him take a visit to Florida, then I would start to worry but not until then.

What is the latest on where we stand with Cameron Clear and Antonio Richardson?

James' Answer: Very confident on Richardson and think we have a 60-40 chance on Clear.

Hampton's Answer: I feel like we lead for Richardson and are in Clear's top 3. I like our chances with both when it comes down to it on NSD.

It appears we have 3 to 4 slots left to fill in the defensive backfield. With the recent information that both Loften and Dixon are striving to become EE's for 2011, can you list the top 5 remaining candidates in order of preference for UT? Can you forecast how you think this will play out?

James' Answer: Tino Thomas and Derek King are the top two targets, King is a 50-50 shot, and he may favor Ole Miss, where his father went to school.

Hampton's Answer: My top 5 would be Loften, Derek King, Chris Jones, Dixon, and Tino Thomas. I think we will end up signing Loften, Martin, and Randolph at Safety with Dixon, Coleman, King, and Thomas at CB. That would make 7 DBs, and I don't know if they would take that many. It could be overkill. Obviously this changes if Loften or Dixon can't qualify which is a risk I'm sure the staff is preparing for.

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