Will Ex-Dawg become a Vol?

Stars are the standard unit of measure in the recruiting business but they don't always tell the whole story in terms of value because the most valuable prospect is one that is taken away from an elite rival and deployed against it.

For instance: Nu'Keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague are a pair of four-star prospects that were committed to Florida but signed with Tennessee so their value to the Vols is actually greater than four star prospects such as Michael Edwards and Nysheir Oliver, who were taken away from Illinois and Notre Dame.

Applying the same logic the loss of Memphis Harding Academy wide receiver Marlon Brown to Georgia was much more injurious than the loss of Je'Ron Stokes to Michigan. Likewise the loss of offensive lineman to Austin Long of Memphis Briarcrest Christian Academy to Georgia was more damaging than the loss of Brentwood Academy O-line standout Alex Bullard to Notre Dame.

With all it's late successes and remarkable recruiting rally it makes one wonder how good UT's 2008 signing class would have been if the Vols had been able to edge out Georgia for such prospects as No. 3 tight end Orson Charles, No. 18 defensive tackle Kwame Geathers in addition to Brown, Charles and Long. Undoubtedly the Vols would have zoomed past UGA and into the the top two nationally.

In fairness it should be pointed out the Vols were able to sign No. 8 safety Darren Myles and No. 4 fullback Toney Williams from the Peach State, but neither player had Georgia among their finalists, and Williams wasn't offered by the Bulldogs, so it's not like UT deprived the UGA of either prospect.

Of course this all requires a lot of speculation regarding cause and effect, and yet, it's clear that Georgia did more to hurt Tennessee's signing class than any other team. And since the Vols have to challenge Georgia and Florida for the SEC East Division title every year, as neither South Carolina, Vanderbilt or Kentucky has ever won the division title since its inception in 1992, those are their critical recruiting match-ups.

That's why the news that Georgia signee Dexter Moody of Emanuel County Institute in Twin City, Ga., is strongly considering Tennessee after he received his release from Georgia in mid March. According to his high school head coach Milan Turner, Moody was released by the Bulldogs for academic and disciplinary reasons.

"Dexter has to decide what he wants to do," Turner told Dawgpost. "Georgia has been working with him on some things, but Dexter wasn't going down the path they wanted him to with grades and some disciplinary things."

Although Moody's release is unconditional, meaning he's free to sign with any school without sitting out a year, he may require a stop at prep school or a detour to a junior college to be eligible. At this point that hasn't been determined. The Vols could decide to sign and place him despite his baggage. After all the 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker is an athletic defender who can chase down quarterbacks as well as cover wide receivers.

Moody had 53 tackles with 10 sacks as a senior and 640 all-purpose yards on offense. He was named by Atlanta Journal Constitution as First-Team All-State. As a junior he posted 86 tackles and 14 sacks.

At one point last week Moody was rumored to be headed to Tennessee, but that was later retracted after Scout.com's Steve Robertson spoke to his mother, Aileen Moody, last Friday.

"We haven't said yes to anything yet," she said. "We're still talking about some things and we haven't made a decision yet."

She added that a decision could come as early as this week or next.

"It's really down to two schools, Tennessee and Marshall," Ms. Moody added. "He was talking some with Florida State, but I don't know where things are with them. There are some others he has been talking with like Mississippi State and Oklahoma, but it's pretty much Tennessee or Marshall."

Just when we thought the Class of 2009 couldn't get better...

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