Vols tie LSU for 3rd in nation

We've often said that recruiting rankings are like preseason polls. You hit some. You miss some. For example, before the 2005 season, Texas and Southern Cal were picked as the top two teams in preseason polls. The Longhorns and Trojans later played for the national championship.

The same year, Tennessee was a preseason No. 3 pick. The Vols went 5-6 and finished unranked.

Recruiting is the same way. Five stars become busts. Two stars become real stars.

In 2003, the Vol who went first in the NFL draft, linebacker Eddie Moore, was offered late by Tennessee after he had committed to Ole Miss.

With that in mind, we took a consensus of five recruiting services and rated the top 10 teams in the nation and the SEC schools. Here's what we got.

Florida was a unanimous No. 1 nationally, followed by Southern Cal with Tennessee and LSU tied for third. Texas was fifth, South Carolina six, Auburn seventh, Notre Dame eighth and Georgia and Michigan tied for ninth.

The SEC rankings: 1. Florida, 2. (tie) Tennessee and LSU, 4. South Carolina, 5. Auburn, 6. Georgia, 7. Alabama, 8. Ole Miss, 9. Mississippi State, 10. Arkansas, 11. Kentucky, 12. Vanderbilt.

Steve Spurrier's second class at South Carolina was intriguing. He got 11 players from Florida, eight from North Carolina and seven from South Carolina.

Conference-wise, the SEC was No. 1, followed by the Pac-10, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Big East.


Because Tennessee does so much cross-recruiting, it's a bit dicey to assign recruits to coaches. This season more than ever, Phillip Fulmer used position coaches to recruit prospects outside of their area. The idea: Two coaches are better than one.

The strategy worked well.

With that in mind, we broke down who got whom, noting more than one coach might have been instrumental in the signing.

Dan Brooks: (8) Anthony Anderson, Dennis Rogan, Josh Hawkins, Rae Sykes, Typer Maples, William Brimfield, Art Evans, Daryl Vereen.

Trooper Taylor: (7) Rolando Melancon, Ahmad Paige, Lennon Creer, Darnius Moore, Eric Berry, Gerald Jones, Nevin McKenzie

Steve Caldwell: (5) Gerald Jones, B.J. Coleman, Kevin Cooper, Cory Hall, Ben Martin.

Greg Adkins: (5) Todd Campbell, Cody Pope, DeAngelo Willingham, Kenny O'Neal, Darris Sawtelle

Larry Slade: (4) C.J. Fleming, Savion Frazier, Donald Langley, Brent Vinson

David Cutcliffe: (3) B.J. Coleman, Ben Martin, Gerald Jones

Kurt Roper: (3) Chris Walker, Josh Hawkins, Daryl Vereen

Matt Luke: (2) Chris Donald, Rufus Williams

John Chavis: (1) Deshaun Barnes


Tennessee signed 19 players who were rated four-star or higher.

The five-stars: Donald, Martin, Berry, Vinson.

The four-stars: Paige, Melancon, Sykes, Creer, Moore, McKenzie, Walker, Willingham, O'Neal, Jones, Frazier, Barnes, Coleman, Sawtelle.


In his 27 years as a college coach within the state of Tennessee, Fulmer said the Volunteer State produced more prospects than any year he could recall.

The Vols got the top two players in Donald and Sykes, three of the top four, six of the top 10, and 10 of the top 15.

Notre Dame got the No. 3 (Harrison Smith) and No. 5 (Golden Tate) players. Alabama got No. 6 (Alex Watkins) and Ole Miss got No. 8 (Roderick Davis).

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