Vols Still No. 1

It says a lot about the caliber of Fulmer & Co.'s current recruiting class that on the same day they lose the commitment of a former five-star linebacker, the Vols remain No. 1 in Scout.com's team rankings.

The recent renouncement of the Vols by Eugene Hayes of Madison County, Fla, following a weekend visit to Clemson was more than offset by the latest player rankings in which the stock of several UT commitments took a sharp rise.

Among UT prospects making the greatest gains was quarterback Jonathan Crompton of Waynesville, N.C., who moved from No. 7 nationally to No. 3 at his position. He also went from a four-star to a five-star prospect, giving Tennessee a trio of five-star pledges.

Demetrice Morley, who, like Crompton, had an outstanding week of workouts during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, moved to the No. 1 in the nation at cornerback. Another Scout.com five-star prospect and one of four Parade All-American defensive backs on the 2005, Morley can play any position in the secondary and is also a standout return specialist.

Defensive end Raymond Henderson of Oak Creek, Wis. moved up two spots from No. 6 at his position to No. 4, while linebacker Rico McCoy jumped all the way from No. 15 to No. 7 after his stellar play in San Antonio. Another Vol linebacker commitment, Andre Mathis of Erie, Pa., advanced three spaces from No. 21 to No. 18.

Josh McNeil, of Collins, Miss., maintained his hold as the nation's top center prospect and rose to No. 11 among all offensive linemen. Wes Hall was up one spot to No. 23 among offensive linemen.

A smaller number of UT prospects took a dip in Scout.com's ratings reshuffle. Chief among those was safety Adam Myers-White who went from No. 7 to No. 12 at his position. He played for the East team in the All-American Bowl and showed better in workouts than he did in the game. Jeff Cottam, of Germantown, slipped to No. 13 at tight end from a previous high of seven.

Currently, Tennessee has commitments from nine four-star prospects and eight from three-star prospects in addition to the aforementioned five-star players. UT leads the nation with seven players in Scout.com's elite Hot 100. USC is next in this category with six although the Trojans are tied with Alabama for No. 9 overall. Ironically, the Trojans rise from No. 11 was made possible by the commitment of Patrick Turner of Nashville Goodpasture High School, who is ranked No. 1 at wide receiver, up from No. 2.

If UT could somehow turn Turner it would solidify its hold on No. 1. Tennessee is also a finalist for No. 1 safety Kenneth Phillips of Miami, Fla., and No. 1 defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger of Dallas, Texas, who jumped two spots from No. 3.

Other high profile prospects Tennessee continues to battle for are No. 4 cornerback Derek Pegues, No. 9 offensive lineman Chris Scott, No. 9 cornerback Bryan Evans, No. 20 wide receiver Slick Shelley and No. 28 defensive end Barry Turner of Brentwood.

Interestingly, while Hayes was making Clemson his new leader he was dropping in the individual rankings from No. 2 to No. 6. Another player who crossed UT off his list after naming the Vols as his co-favorite two days ago is Ricky Jean-Francois, a defensive end from Miami who dropped from No. 3 to No. 11 in the latest ratings.

Likewise, Brandon Perry, No. 34 defensive tackle from Hawkinsville, Ga., didn't make a scheduled trip to Knoxville last weekend and now lists Nebraska as his favorite. Perry's decision was due to a lack of available scholarships at UT.

The only thing standing between a successful recruiting season for Tennessee and a sensational recruiting campaign is a strong finish.

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