InsideTennessee's Recruiting Mailbag

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Everything I hear says Couch will be our next commit. Excluding Couch, who do you this will be our next commitment?

James' Answer: I feel that it will be Lanier for sure. I'm hearing there is another close to pulling the trigger but I have been asked to keep this one under my hat. Could it be because he is a commitment somewhere else?

Hampton's Answer: It gets a little tricky after Couch. I guess I'll go with Lanier because we have to get him soon if we want him because he is an EE.

How do we stand with A Richardson and C Clear as of now?

James' Answer: Very, very good with one. Good with the other.

Hampton's Answer: We have a big lead for both.

Behind Wright and Couch do we have a shot with DT who will qualify? What about a DE?

James' Answer: This one could be tricky. I think if we get another DE it will be a dynamic guy like Carridine or Pagan. If Johnson doesn't qualify don't give up the ship, I'm hearing whispers that there is another name that could appear on the board in the next couple of weeks. I think we are still very solid with Gabe Wright.

Hampton's Answer: Not sure if Mickey Johnson will qualify, but we are definitely in it with him. If they miss on Wright and Johnson, I'm not sure where they'd go. Maybe to Lonnie Gosha, Quinton Pompey, or Chavis Akins. They have a shot at any of those 3 guys if they want them.

Which RB will we sign with Tom Smith? Best chance obviously.

James' Answer: Yes this is a tough one. I would have to go with Bigelow or Bellamy, Hinshaw has done a tremendous job getting Bellamy to take a visit, and once they are on campus anything can happen.

Hampton's Answer: That is a hard question to answer. They want Bellamy, Bigelow, or Huggins, but they all look like long shots. I guess I'll say Kevin Grooms.

What highly rated LB's are we still pursuing and have at least an even chance of signing?

James' Answer: Dawson is definitely a long shot; he is probably wrapped in Kentucky Blue. There is another guy that is currently committed to another SEC school that has shown recent interest, there definitely could end up being a signing day surprise here.

Hampton's Answer: We and after Lamar Dawson and he will be here for the Kentucky game. I think we sit well with Gionni Paul.

Do you feel UT recruiting (2011 and beyond) is looking up, in a steady state, or losing steam from where it was a few months ago?

James' Answer: I think this class is definitely picking up steam. Look for a strong finish and a few surprises.

Hampton's Answer: It is definitely looking up. We are about to close strong and have a good start on 2012.

Who are we pursuing that we will keep a scholly open until signing day in order to get a commitment?

James' Answer: Richardson will always have a scholarship at UT, would also keep one for Pagan and Gabe Wright and there a couple of others they wouldn't pass up.

Hampton's Answer: I think we will wait to see what the RBs, Wright, Johnson, and Pagan are going to do for sure before we give their schollies away. Not sure it will be until NSD though.

What other highly-rated recruits of need do you feel good about between now and NSD?

James' Answer: Couch, Lanier, Richardson, Clear and Wright

Hampton's Answer: I feel confident that Maurice Couch, Antonio Richardson, and Cam Clear are all going to be Vols.

Any surprises coming up?

James' Answer: There will most definitely be at least one surprise, probably two or three.

Hampton's Answer: I don't know of any, but I think we will pull at least 1 surprise. It could be at RB.

Are we still in it for Pagan even though he is now injured?

James' Answer: Dooley is a man of character, I don't see him pulling Pagan's offer, not to mention he is an elite talent that would be worth waiting for.

Hampton's Answer: Yes, he is an elite talent.

Is the Juco CB the highest priority right now for DB's?

James' Answer: I would have to say defensive linemen and then defensive backs, don't rule out a big time linebacker either.

Hampton's Answer: Yes.

Where do we miss this year? We cannot fill ALL of our needs, so some area will suffer and be postponed to next year. What do you think the 2012 class will look like?

James' Answer: I think this coaching staff will always be looking to increase the talent on the defensive side of the ball especially. Including linebackers and at defensive tackle. Hampton's Answer: I think we are going to miss at either LB or DE. I expect the '12 class to be ranked in the 6-10 range.

With the current "turmoil" at Auburn and other universities, what verbal commits to those schools do we want to keep recruiting and which of those would we have the best opportunity to sign by NSD?

James' Answer: It will depend, if things come out against Auburn before signing day there could be some shake up. If it comes out that Auburn is guilty of paying Newton, the penalties will be severe, several commits might go elsewhere.

Hampton's Answer: The only recruit that comes to mind is Gabe Wright. Something like this at Auburn could push him in the Vols corner.

Are we recruiting the Juco DE Carredine? If we are, what are our chances with him?

James' Answer: Here is the deal with Carredine. Butler coaches don't allow the prospects to talk to media or coaches until their season is over with. Everything has to go through the coaches. If UT can get him on campus, I feel they have a good chance of landing him.

Hampton's Answer: Yes, we are recruiting him hard. I don't think we have a great shot now. I believe he really likes FSU, but anything can happen if we can get him on campus.

What speed back do we prefer and do you project we have the best chance at? Bigelow? Bellamy? Huggins? Grooms?

James' Answer: I would say Bellamy as a speed guy.

Hampton's Answer: I prefer Bellamy. We have the best shot at Grooms and can get him if we really want him.

Tennessee has Marcus Jackson (og/dt) & Mickey Jackson (dt) coming in for the Mississippi game? Does this signal concern about Richardson or DL targets? With 8-10 spots left right now, are either of these guys takes?

James' Answer: Hampton is pretty spot on in regards to this question.

Hampton's Answer: I don't think it says anything about Richardson or the DL targets. Marcus is a big time OL talent they would take and Mickey is a fallback guy. Mickey has visited once or twice before. Marcus Jackson is a take for most any school in the country including the Vols.

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