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Posted: Thursday, February 4th, 2016, 5:51 AM
Click to Smoky Mountain Brewery!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thanks to Smoky Mountain Brewery, Dr Sean Sinclair, Beano, 'X', Nate Hodges, Houston Kress, Dubsey, Richey and Heidi along with every living fan that showed up yesterday to be with us for our 2016 Signing Day Spectacular. I was playing hurt yesterday. What's a little borderline walking pneumonia among friends? Yawl all around this great world really picked me up yesterday. The turnout was AMAZING! The well wishes and kind words really appreciated, and the passion right on time.

I absolutely love doing this. That was some great stuff yesterday. We had several prospects truly engaged thanks to Dr Sean Sinclair's wonderful preparation. He literally carried me through 4 hours. Might be time for him to visit Tennessee Sports Medicine after that showing. We periscoped yesterday so as to bring those outside the area the passion and fun of the event. It was just an amazing day. Tennessee did a really great job as well this year with their presentation. Tip of the cap to Mike Keith and Al Wilson. That was some great stuff Tennessee produced. The reaction at Smoky Mountain Brewery and the build to the Kongbo decision was spine chilling. Really wonderful to be a part of that. Sorry for not looking more excited, but I was on fumes at that point. It really was a superb day. I feel so blessed to get the opportunity to do what I do every day. Yesterday was just amazing.

When I went to press yesterday I told you that if Tennessee went 2-3 it would be GREAT. Well they went 3-3 on the close and it was AMAZING. Bottom line on Kongbo is you don't get him without all hands on deck. Dr Sean Sinclair (DDS Maryville) likened this to Tennessee going into an octagon with the heavyweights of major college football and emerging victorious. This is a fight last year that they wouldn't have survived in previous years. No way, no how. Kongbo committed, de-committed, wavered, visited, entertained the free world, rebuffed Ole Miss (how many prospects did that down the stretch?) and came back to Tennessee. That's not a win, that's a WIN. That's some amazing recruiting. When I say all hands on deck made that possible, I mean ALL hands! When Butch Jones took the Tennessee job, he went on an apology tour to heal all the wounds of the previous staff. When all hands are pulling in the same direction (see the mid 90's) across Vol Nation Tennessee is a National juggernaut. Book that.

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'X' Says
Way too early look at in-state prospects for 2017

Below is a first look at 2017 in-state prospects you will see on campus during the spring. The names below are a sampling of a class of 2017 football prospects that may be the best that the state has produced since yours truly has been following recruiting.

The list is not comprehensive and the names are in no particular order or ranking. Ranking and priority will come after I have recovered from close out of the 2016 class.

Simply put, this is the first cut of in-state prospects Tennessee is involved with.

Just a couple of quick observations. The state, especially the mid state, is LOADED with big, athletic kids. Though only a couple are listed, there are a half dozen or so running backs in the state that will be heavily recruited by Power 5 schools.

Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 6’5” 190 lbs. Tennessee commitment. No better athlete in the country. Tennessee needs to get its passing game cleaned up.

Trey Smith, Offensive Lineman, Jackson, Tennessee (University High School), 6’5” 290 lbs. Jackson has traditionally been a strong Tennessee town. Smith is a priority for Tennessee in 2017.

JaCoby Stevens, Athlete Nashville, Tennessee (Oakland High School) 6’2” 200 lbs. One of most explosive athletes in class. Could play on either side of ball. Will be tough to keep in state because of ties to LSU.

Maleik Gray, Athlete Lavergne, Tennessee (LaVergne High School) 6’1” 195. Another prospect that can play either side of the ball. Tennessee has a fight on its hands to keep him in state.

Amari Rogers, Wide Receiver , Knoxville, Tennessee (Catholic High School) 5’10” 195 lbs. Dynamic wide receiver and punt/kickoff return. Tennessee, Clemson, USC all involved here.

Tyson Chandler, Running Back, Nashville, Tennessee (Montgomery Bell Academy) 5”11” 180 lbs. Running back is high priority in 2017. Chandler is at top of list.

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Cordarrian Richardson, Running Back, (Memphis, Tennessee (Trezvant High School) 5’10” 220 lbs. Richardson and Chandler in any order are the top running back targets on Tennessee’s board.

Chase Hayden, Running Back/Athlete Collierville, Tennessee (St. George’s Independent School). VOL Legacy. Hayden is probably destined for defensive back in college, but he could help out as slot receiver or running back. Tennessee, Michigan, Notre Dame early for Hayden.

Trannell Moore, Running Back, Chattanooga, Tennessee East Ridge High School, 6'0" 190 lbs. Probably least recognized name provided except those in the Chattanooga area who have watched him play. Moore won 3A Tennessee Mr. Football Award this past fall. Tennessee knows about Moore as he was unofficial visitor last fall for practices.

Rutger Reitmaier, Offensive/Defensive Lineman , Nashville , Tennessee (Lipscomb Academy) 6’3” 285 lbs. Give credit to Tennessee. They evaluated Reitmaier early, liked what they saw, and extended an offer. Other schools are following suit now.

Princeton Fant, Wide Receiver Lavergne, Tennessee (LaVergne High School). Truly talented and athletic wide receiver prospects that has battled injury off and on. When healthy, not many prospects in the state are better.

Ben Hutch, defensive tackle , Nashville , Tennessee (Hillsboro High School) 6”2” 270 lbs.

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Jacob Phillips, outside linebacker, Nashville, Tennessee (East Nashville Magnet School) 6’3” 225 lbs. Tennessee will be in the market for one or two explosive, playmaking outside linebacker types in 2017. Phillips will be near or at the top of their list.

Obinna Eze, Offensive Tackle , Nashville, Tennessee (Davidson Academy) 6’8” 265 lbs. Eze is extremely raw and been playing organized football only a short time. You can’t coach 6’8” 260 at 16 years old.

Latrell Bumphus , Athlete, Savannah, Tennessee (Hardin County) 6’4” 230 lbs. Bumphus is a jumbo athlete that could play defensive end or tight end in college.

TD Blackmon, Middle Linebacker Maryville, Tennessee (Maryville High School) 5”11” 210 lbs. Not sure how Blackmon projects in college, and I don’t know what his measureables are. I do know I think Blackmon is a good football player.

The state is loaded with talent at the cornerback position. There are more but below are three already garnering SEC interest.

Landon Guidry, Cornerback Nashville, Tennessee (Thompson Station High ) 6’0” 175.

Gentry Bonds, Cornerback Murfreesboro, Tennessee (Riverdale High School) 6’180” lbs.

TJ Carter, Cornerback, Hendersonville, Tennessee (Hendersonville High School) 5”11 175”

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Wildcard Isiah Stokes Defensive End Memphis, Tennessee (Lausanne Collegiate School) 6’8” 280 lbs. Stokes would be arguably a top 5 prospect in the state next season as a defensive end prospect. At least at this time he has given up football. Some think there is a chance he rethinks this decision before his senior year of high school.

One prospect people aren't taking notice of but will by December: Chase Kuerschen, Athlete, Knoxville Catholic. I don't know what his measurables are, but he has good size, runs great routes, is a sure tackler, and is football fast


There will be plenty of time to develop a more detailed list of key out of state targets. Here is an early list of a half dozen.

DeAngelo Gibbs, Safety , Loganville, Georgia. Gibbs will be talked about as one of top prospects in Georgia for 2017. Actually, most believe he may be the top safety in the Southeast. You will hear plenty about him. Gibbs and Tennessee signee Nigel Warrior are cousins. To be honest, it would be an upset if Gibbs didn't wind up in Orange next season.

Lamont Wade, Cornerback, Clairton, Pennsylvania. Most recruiting services have Wade rated as the top 2017 cornerback. Though early, he lists Tennessee as one of his top schools. Wade was recruited by Bob Shoop while Shoop coached for Penn State.

Justin Foster Outside Linebacker Shelby, North Carolina. Linebacker is a position of need in 2017. North Carolina has been good to Tennessee of late. Foster is one of the tops in the Southeast.

Zac Carter, Defensive End, Tampa, Florida. Carter is as good a defensive end prospect for 2017 as the state of Florida will produce. Tennessee has already positioned itself to be a major factor and possibly the team to beat for Carter.

Jordon Riley , Strong side Defensive End/Tackle Durham, North Carolina. Riley was committed to Tennessee but recommitted a few months ago to make sure he made the right choice. Tennessee is still involved here. Very hard pull out of the heart of ACC Country.

Eric Crosby, Defensive Tackle, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tennessee failed to sign a high school defensive tackle in 2016 and frankly the 2017 in-state crop of defensive tackles is good but not exceptional. Crosby is a top target and lists Tennessee as one of his top schools.


'X'!!! What can I say!!! That is some damn outstanding work! I should be pointing out that 'X' is calling the class in the state of Tennessee for 2017.

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'Tony B:

Nigel Warrior!

Shootin’ at the walls of heartache.


Eric S
UT ‘95'

Final Thought: Shocking that Derek Brown went to Auburn. Oh, so it wasn't. $EC Football is King 24/7 & 365.

Final Thought II: You can’t spell Ole Mi$$ without $$.



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