InsideTennessee Recruiting Mailbag

Santa Claus doesn't have anything on our recruiting experts. There is more in depth recruiting information found in our Mailbag that you can find anywhere. Settle in for your a nap, a glass of egg nog and your Recruiting Mailbag. What else could anyone desire. Since it's Christmas we are going to make the Mailbag Feature free, so all Vol fans can see why they are missing out,

What is your gut telling you about Justin Wilcox being considered for the DC position at Texas? If he goes, where do we look for a DC? What about Lance Thompson? Does he get promoted to DC? Thanks!

James' Answer: We have heard from a couple people on campus that Wilcox is leaving after the Bowl game. I think he is gone, would be surprised if he stays. It's not that I don't think Lance Thompson could be a good DC, but this is going to be a very important hire for Dooley. I think there are too many big names out there for Thompson to actually get the job. My top five names Kevin Steele, Randy Shannon, Phil Bennett, Manny Diaz, or Terryl Austin.

Hampton's Answer: I don't have a good feeling about Wilcox staying. The concensus seems to be we would look at Manny Diaz, Kevin Steele, Everett Withers, and Randy Shannon. I can't imagine we would promote Thompson to DC.

Do you expect any commitments between now and the Army All Star game on January 8th?

James' Answer: Probably not at this point.

Hampton's Answer: No.

Are we still in the hunt for JC DB B Moore and OL M Jackson?

James' Answer: I think we are still pursuing both and both are high priorities. I think that we get Moore and it will come down to Miami and Tennessee for Jackson..

Hampton's Answer: Yes. We still lead for Moore, but he will be a tough pull in the end. We are still recruiting Jackson hard, but I believe Golden locked him back up for Miami this past weekend.

Which prospects that are high on the Vols do you expect to be signing day announcements?

James' Answer: Most all of the big names will wait until signing day. They might tell the UT coaching staff before, but some might even wait to tell the Vols.

Hampton's Answer: Most of them. Lamar Dawson, Gabe Wright, Mickey Johnson, Jay Rome, etc. We are in on nothing but big names now and they all want to announce at an AA game or on NSD.

Are we pursuing any more JC DTs?

James' Answer: I learned a long time ago covering recruiting to never say never. I bet there are a couple of JC D-linemen that the Vols are behind the scenes on, may not get them, but they aren't giving up on a couple.

Hampton's Answer: No. Leon Mackey is the only JUCO DL we are pursuing hard, and he is a DE.

Your thoughts on the chances of this class being a top 10 class?

James' Answer: 15 percent chance, probably will end up between 14-17.

Hampton's Answer: 2% chance

Predict your surprise signee for 2011.

James' Answer: Jermuria Rasco

Hampton's Answer: Lamar Dawson

Will Tiny Richardson and Cam Clear declare on NSD or before? Do you see any greyshirts in this class?

James' Answer: Probably will be National Signing Day announcements. Not sure on grey shirts, but probably not. Hampton's Answer: I'm not exactly sure, but it will be close to NSD. No earlier than mid-January for either of them.

Is the lack of a paid RB coach hurting us with recruits at that spot? The simplest answer is often the correct one, unless its about your team or a rivals. Then its the one you want to believe .

James' Answer: OC Jim Chaney is listed as the RB coach, Fontenette is the guy on the field. I have mix feelings on this issue, I think is could affect recruiting for your top flight guys.

Hampton's Answer: No, I don't think so. Chino Fontenette is the RB coach, and I'm sure he talks to the recruits on their visits. He can speak with them on the phone as well.

Do we really have a good shot at J. Rome?

James' Answer: I think we have a better shot that most people realize. Yes he has been a big Georgia lead, but hey Da'Rick was a long time Georgia commitment. Dontavious Sapp has done a great job recruiting him. The UT coaching staff has done a tremendous job here to get UT in his top two. It will depend on what's important to Rome. If he wants to make an instant impact early, UT will be the easy choice.

Hampton's Answer: I wouldn't call it a good shot. He is a heavy UGA lean, but we are in his top 2. I don't see him being a Vol, but maybe Dooley can work some January magic with him.

Why do you think it's been so quite on recruiting?

James' Answer: I have been covering recruiting for over five years, it's always this way at this time of the year. Partly due to the dead period, bowl prep etc.

Hampton's Answer: Because there hasn't been anything going on. There hasn't been any visitors for 2 weeks.

How many DT's will we sign in all?

James' Answer: I agree with Hampton on this one.

Hampton's Answer: 4. I believe we will get 1 more to go with the 3 we already have.

Do you think this would be considered a great class if it was final as of now?

James' Answer: We are definitely saving the best for last. That's the way it always is with some of the top players in the country etc.

Hampton's Answer: If we took no more players? No, it would be an awful final class.

Do you think we will finish strong enough to land us in the top 10?

James' Answer: It would be nice and it could be possible, but I see the ranking somewhere between 14-17, maybe a little better.

Hampton's Answer: No. I expect to be in the 12-15 range.

I think Mike Bellamy is the most important recruit (to us) in this whole class. Is there any chance we can turn him to the Vols?

James' Answer: The only way this happens is if Kevin Steele has a close relationship with him and if Steele becomes a Vol.

Hampton's Answer: No.

How much will Gabe Wright have an effect on Isaiah Crowell? If UT gets Wright, could they pull the package deal with Crowell, too?

James' Answer: You never know, but I doubt it. I do think we get Gabe Wright.

Hampton's Answer: They do not affect each others decision. I can't see us even having a chance with Crowell. He has never given us the time of day.

How much is this week's "noise" surrounding Justin Wilcox impacting our chances with any defensive recruits (verbally committed or potential commits)?

James' Answer: It all depends on who they get to replace him .Both Kevin Steele or Randy Shannon are both better recruiters and have better resumes than Wilcox.

Hampton's Answer: I haven't heard anything like that. I think our most trouble if he left would come from recruits not knowing what kind of defense we will be running. I do not believe Wilcox to be a great recruiter.

I noticed that Pat Martin now has a "Soft Verbal" commitment to UT. What has changed over the last few months to make him consider other schools?

James' Answer: I asked him directly two weeks ago about this, he said just because he is taking other visits doesn't mean he isn't solid to the Vols.

Hampton's Answer: On the recruiting sites, any prospect who visits another school is considered a soft verbal. I don't think he is really considering other schools. I think he is solid to the Vols. He is still recruiting for us harder than any other recruit in this class.

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