The kids are alright

The ink is barely dry. The crap shoot is now just beginning. For the most part, it will take a long time before we know what the dice will show. Except for the fact that Tennessee snagged three JUCOs, all likely to be contributors on day one. Wednesday was 2012 National Signing Day. It was significant. Derek Dooley and (a mostly new) staff are to be congratulated for a very respectable showing.

In total, there were 21 commitments — nine on offense, eleven on defense, and a single special teams recruit (a place kicker out of Knoxville). It totaled to a Number 17 national ranking on the Rivals board. A top 25 ranking is a must there. We’re still relevant on the national stage. But it totals out to be only the 6th position of SEC schools. That’s what it’s like to be a member of the best league in the land. Dooley has a 4-12 record in that league. So, during the post-signing-deadline press conference, the embattled coach brokered the bamboo and water analogy once again. It’s likely his last opportunity to play that card. It will be time to see some serious green this coming season.

Significant signings? Let’s start with the JUCOs. The top-rated junior-college player in the country is now a Tennessee Volunteer. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is a player of a position that is potentially an embarrassment of riches for the Vols. Patterson is one of four 4-star WRs coming in. Another is the best WR recruit out of Georgia — Jason Croom. Alton “Pig” Howard is another tasty WR signee for at least his name alone. Is Wide Receiver U back? The two other JUCOs are defensive linemen, a position that needs some experience right away. All three of the JUCOs can step in and be expected to contribute immediately.

There’s more. Tennessee got a player listed in the Rivals Top 100. Safety LaDarrell McNeil is a Texan. For some reason he chose the Vols over the likes of the Longhorns. Perhaps because he sees that he could be starting against N.C. State in a few months. Bang! And at a position in need of some serious quality. Throw in Nathan Peterman, who may be the best QB coming out of the state of Florida.

We ended up with no offensive linemen.Two highly-regarded linebacker prospects de-committed towards the end of the recruiting season. Those downers were thorns in what could have been something to really celebrate.

But we already have 4 commitments for 2013.

Can’t wait for spring football.

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