'Cut' ready to recruit?

David Cutcliffe hasn't recruited for the Tennessee Vols since December of 1998. He hasn't recruited for them when they were coming off a losing season since 1988.

No problem, he says. The Vols' second-term offensive coordinator is convinced he has a program that can open a lot of doors and a message that can sway a lot of prospects ... even with UT coming off a 5-6 season.

"My message to offensive prospects is that they would want to play in this system," he said. "We have balance, so if you're a running back you should be excited. If you're a wide receiver or a quarterback you should be excited."

Seven running backs who played for UT during Cutcliffe's previous stint as coordinator (1993-98) went on to play in the National Football League – Charlie Garner (1993), Little Man Stewart (1993-94), Aaron Hayden (1993-94), Jay Graham (1993-96), Jamal Lewis (1997-98), Travis Henry (1998) and Travis Stephens (1998).

Five receivers who played during Cutcliffe's previous tenure as coordinator also played pro ball – Cory Fleming (1993), Joey Kent (1993-96), Marcus Nash (1994-97), Peerless Price (1995-98) and Cedrick Wilson (1996-98).

Three of the quarterbacks he coached during his coordinator days at UT played in the NFL – Heath Shuler (1993), Peyton Manning (1994-97) and Tee Martin (1998). Shuler was the third player picked in the NFL Draft following his junior year and Manning was the first player picked in the Draft following his senior year. Martin led Tennessee to a national title in his only year as a starter under Cutcliffe.

Several of the linemen who played during Cutcliffe's previous reign have gone on to successful pro careers, as well. These include Jason Layman (1993-95), Bubba Miller (1993-95), Jeff Smith (1993-95), Trey Teague (1994-97), Chad Clifton (1996-98) and Cosey Coleman (1997-98).

"Oddly enough, in this system, offensive linemen and tight ends have been extremely successful," Cutcliffe noted. "A lot of these guys made it on to the next level. And if they didn't make it to the next level, they were successful as people.

"That's what we're going to sell. We're not only going to help them as football players but we're going to help them grow as people."

Sounds like a pretty good pitch, doesn't it?


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