Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has added a pair of key recruiting weapons since the 2011 season ended — running backs coach Jay Graham (via South Carolina) and offensive line coach Sam Pittman (from North Carolina).
Graham, a former Vol, and Pittman both have already established themselves as above average recruiters in the south. In fact, Pittman was tabbed this past year's Scout.com/Fox Sports Next ACC Recruiter of the Year.
Under Dooley, Tennessee previously did not have a full-time coach staffed to lead the running backs. A graduate assistant handled that role and GAs are not allowed to actively recruit. Thus, Graham's hiring was an upgrade almost by default.
His presence is sure to play a key role in the pursuit of former LSU commitment and running back Davanté Bourque, who is officially visiting this weekend.
|Tennessee has an opportunity to sure up the commitment of safety LaDarrell McNeil this weekend.|
"The Tennessee coaches have been to see me a few times and every time things have been good with the coaches," Bourque told InsideTennessee on Tuesday. "I like them a lot. Coach Graham is a good guy, too. It is good to get to know a guy who has played in the NFL and stuff like that."
Pittman played a pivotal role in the Tar Heels reeling in five-star offensive lineman Kiaro Holts, who hails from Indianapolis, Ind., in the Class of 2011.
"Coach Pittman and coach (Butch) Davis sold me," Holts told InsideCarolina last February. "The relationship with coach Pittman has gotten stronger (since committing). I feel real connected with him as a player and a person."
Dooley, Graham, Pittman and the rest of the staff will have some help trying to get prospects to make or keep Tennessee No. 1 on their lists as commits Drae Bowles, George Bullock, Jason Croom, Justin King, LaDarrell McNeil and Otha Peters will all be in town.
Rounding out the four uncommitted players tripping to The Hill are three-star outside linebacker Richie Brown, four-star defensive tackle Korren Kirven and three-star junior college wide receiver Demetrius Wilson.
Including the seven players that started classes this week at Tennessee, the Vols currently have 19 commitments. Be sure to check back with InsideTennessee.com to see if that list grows in the coming days.