Immediate help

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When Tennessee puts tremendous effort into recruiting a junior college prospect, it's because the Vol coaching staff has a specific, pressing need and it feels like that player can provide an immediate impact.

The defensive line at UT has been low on depth for years, whether the head coach was Phillip Fulmer, Lane Kiffin or Derek Dooley. Thus, adding bodies capable of sustaining in the Southeastern Conference has been a focal point.

At or near the top of the recruiting board for Dooley and former assistants Terry Joseph and Lance Thompson was Darrington Sentimore.

Those efforts paid off as the Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College lineman signed with the Volunteers back in December.

Sentimore credits Vol defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri (pictured) with his progress as a lineman since getting to Knoxville.
(Danny Parker/
Last fall, Sentimore accumulated 39 tackles, five TFLs, seven sacks and a forced fumble under coach Steve Campbell. His playing weight was in the 265-pound range, but that number has ballooned up to roughly 300 bills, and conditioning may be the only thing standing between the 6-foot-3 talent and a significant number of snaps in 2012.

"(Sentimore) has been good," Dooley said. "He is still working on his consistency like most of the guys on defense. Stamina is going to be an issue with him like most defensive linemen. Big, heavy guys, when they go a lot of snaps get tired. He has knowledge of the system, which I think has helped him."

Sentimore originally signed with Alabama as a four-star prospect out of Destrahan (La.) High School. He redshirted in 2009 before starting to work his way into the rotation up front for the Crimson Tide.

Comparing his skill set from when he first stepped foot onto an SEC campus to where he is presently, the Norco, La., native said he has improved in various assets of the game. For several of those adjustments, Sentimore tips his hat to Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri.

"I have worked on my run game a lot because at first I was childish, just getting up the field in pass rush all day," Sentimore said. "Now, I convert to pass rush and into a lot of different things. Coach Sal taught me how to do a lot of different things."

His experience with some of the terminology that Sunseri is bringing over from Alabama should help Sentimore play faster in Tennessee's scheme.

Off the field, the defensive end said there's not a whole lot of difference between the towns of the SEC rivals.

"You've got a lot of hills up here. They don't have many hills up in Tuscaloosa. But, other than that, it's not that different. The stadiums look the same, just different colors. The fan bases are the same, just different people."

Sentimore has reportedly had some all-out battles with sophomore offensive tackle Antonio Richardson this spring. The redshirt junior gave praise to the the entire unit.

"I've been impressed with the whole offensive line, not just one of them. I think they're pretty good," he said.

Check out more on Sentimore in his first formal meeting with the Knoxville-based media on Tuesday in the video below:

To get a look at Sentimore (94) and other Vol defensive linemen in drillwork at Tuesday's practice, check out the footage below:

Danny Parker is currently the Associate Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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