Dooley: Tennessee’s unique recruiting perspective

by VolNation Staff on July 24, 2010

in Tennessee Vols Football

Derek DooleyIn-state recruiting has been a hot topic around the Tennessee football program for quite some time.

In 2010, the Vols signed just two players from within the state: James Stone from Nashville and Jacques Smith from Ooltewah.

Without an abundance of local talent, however, some question whether Tennessee football can regain relevance on a national level.

But Derek Dooley has a different perspective.

While schools such as Alabama and LSU certainly have a recruiting advantage, he likes the unique situation at Tennessee.

“Certainly at both of those places, they’re gonna sign a lot more players from in-state,” Dooley said. “But I do think there’s a tremendous, unique perspective in recruiting that we have that none of the other institutions have. We border eight states at Tennessee. I really consider, you take about three to five hours around Knoxville, there is a tremendous amount of talent all the way around at every state.”

According to Dooley, a deficiency of in-state talent doesn’t necessarily mean Tennessee lacks a strong local recruiting base.

“So even though a lot of people say we don’t have a great number of recruiting base, I don’t really see it that way,” Dooley said. “I mean, we can drive three hours down the road and there’s a multitude of players.”

Recruiting out of state players presents its own set of difficulties. But fortunately, Tennessee’s geographical advantages help tremendously.

“Does it create challenges that it’s not your home state?. Of course, it does,” Dooley acknowledged. “But there’s also a special uniqueness that Tennessee has because of that.”

No matter where they grew up, the loyalty exhibited by former players is a prime example of what makes Tennessee so special. Once their paths cross through Knoxville, many consider it home.

“I’ve always, from the outside, admired the passion of the former players at Tennessee,” Dooley said. “It’s incredible how much they love the place, how they come back. I don’t think there’s very many programs out there that have former players do that. And I think it’s because of our geographic location that we’re able to pull players from so many different places. That when they come to Tennessee, they truly leave home, they unpack their bags, they form new relationships, form special bonds that last forever. So I consider it a real strength.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jacob Tippens July 25, 2010 at 7:55 am

I totally agree with coach Dooley’s comments, a lack of in state talent never hurt Johnny Majors and certainly didnt hurt Phillip Fulmer from winning at Tennessee on a national level. Say what you want to about Fulmer but the guy showed the college football world that the top talent in the country will come to Knoxville, TN! UT has the tradition, offers a great education, has state of the art facilities and has a “pipeline” to the pro’s that rivals any program! It’s great to hear coach Dooley play to our strengths, GO VOLS!!

2 joe monk July 25, 2010 at 8:18 am

The fact is we are ranked 53rd in the country in recruiting. Not Good

3 Bill B July 25, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Being ranked 53rd at this point with at least 6 suspected silent committments does not mean a lot. It appears that Coach Dolley and staff are doing this time around is to fill a lot holes meaning a 4* or 5* prospect may not necessarily be offered as would have been the case in the past if they are not dire need positions of need as a good evaluated 3* prospect appears to be a definite need prospect. There are not a lot of 4/5* lineman especially tackles and guards on both sides of the ball.
Bill B

4 RockyMTNVOL July 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

UT fans must be patient and allow a quality program to be built. We can help by being positive and supportive of our coaching staff and the student athletes. They have a lot tougher schedule that most academic students do not experience, and I am not just talking about Football……all sports have a lot to balance in their lives. I do not think they get much credit for going to classes, making the grade and enduring a grueling schedule of off season and season conditioning.

This does not mean regular students (like me) do not have it tough, but I do not get hit by 300lb linemen 🙂


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