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  • Coach Derek Dooley's Comments on Tennessee's 2010 Signing Class

    "First of all, 19 days on the job feels like it's been already two years.

    "I guess I was hired on a Friday (Jan. 15) and that next Saturday--I guess it's an understatement to say that the program was in a fragile state. We had so much to do and a short time to get there. We really just had to focus in one step at a time. "That started that Saturday. Our first priority was getting some coaches in to help us hit the road recruiting, and of course putting all our energy into those eight mid-term enrollees, which was a fragile state as well. So I was really pleased that all eight of them came back and I thought that was a good first step.

    "I really have to give a lot of credit to Lance (Thompson) and Jim (Chaney), who were on the staff before and gave us a good personnel view of our roster. Then I just spent all day and night going through recruiting tape because I was not familiar with all these guys. Then we developed a plan to hit the road, and then we hit the road for two weeks of recruiting and had two official visit weekends. Now here we are today.

    "Tennessee has so much to sell. So it wasn't as hard as people think to go out there and convince some of these young men to come to Tennessee. It was just a matter of me getting in front of them and selling who I am and what I believe; selling our coaching staff and selling where we are headed with the program.

    "As you know, we have almost completed our staff. We have one more hire and I'll finally be able to catch my breath when that is finished.

    "I don't want to get into particulars about each recruit because I believe there is no way I can sit here and project how good these guys are going to be two or three years from now. Today is really when the work begins. It's how we coach them, how we mentor them, support them and how we develop them mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. There are so many factors that go into how well these guys will perform at this university and how good our team is going to be in the next two or three years. So I think it's jumping the gun a little bit to get so excited on signing day, even though I know it's a great event for the fans.

    "Just as an example, I was looking back and I think in 2007, we had the No. 3 signing class in the country—according to the experts. Today, we have about 53 percent of those guys still on the roster. So that ought to tell you that what is really important is not just getting the guys, but what we do with them after they get here.

    "That's where we are and I am happy to finally get to this point. I am pleased overall with the guys that we have. But at the end of the day, this class will be evaluated three or four years from now."

    Signing Day Notebook
    Position Breakdown:
    QB: (3) Tyler Bray, Nash Nance, Matt Simms
    RB: (1) Rajion Neal
    WR: (4) Justin Hunter, Ted Meline, Matt Milton, Da'Rick Rogers
    TE: (1) Mychal Rivera
    OL: (4) Zach Fulton, Ja'Wuan James, Marques Pair, James Stone
    DL: (3) John Brown, Corey Miller, Jacques Smith
    LB: (3) Raiques Crump, Martaze Jackson, John Propst
    DB: (3) Dave Clark, Eddrick Loften, Dontavis Sapp
    PK: (1) Michael Palardy
    ATH: (2) Marcques Dixon, Channing Fugate

    By State:
    Alabama: 3
    California: 2
    Florida: 3
    Georgia: 6
    Illinois: 2
    Kentucky: 1
    Louisiana: 1
    New Jersey: 1
    S. Carolina: 2
    Tennessee: 2
    Texas: 1
    Virginia: 1

    Roster (25):
    John Brown, DL, 6-2, 285, Lakeland, Fla. (Northeast Mississippi C.C.)
    Tyler Bray, QB, 6-6, 190, Kingsburg, Calif. (Kingsburg)
    Dave Clark, DB, 6-2, 190, Baton Rouge, La. (Independence C.C.)
    Raiques Crump, LB, 6-2, 220, Adamsville, Ala. (Minor)
    Marcques Dixon, Athlete, 5-10, 195, Decatur, Ga. (Southwest Dekalb)
    Channing Fugate, Athlete, 6-2, 225, Jackson, Ky. (Breathitt County)
    Zach Fulton, OL, 6-5, 315, Homewood, Ill. (Homewood-Flossmoor)
    Justin Hunter, WR, 6-5, 180, Virginia Beach, Va. (Ocean Lakes)
    Martaze Jackson, LB, 6-2, 225, Demopolis, Ala. (Demopolis)
    Ja'Wuan James, OL, 6-6, 290, Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett)
    Eddrick Loften, DB, 6-0, 200, Irving, Texas (Nimitz)
    Ted Meline, WR, 6-3, 170, Miami, Fla. (North Miami Senior)
    Corey Miller, DL, 6-4, 230, Wellford, S.C. (Byrnes)
    Matt Milton, WR, 6-6, 200, Mascoutah, Ill. (Mascoutah)
    Nash Nance, QB, 6-3, 215, Calhoun, Ga. (Calhoun)
    Rajion Neal, RB, 5-11, 215, Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek)
    Marques Pair, OL, 6-6, 275, Sumter, S.C. (Sumter)
    Michael Palardy, PK, 6-0, 170, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
    John Propst, LB, 6-1, 220, Hoover, Ala. (Hoover)
    Mychal Rivera, TE, 6-4, 250, Van Nuys, Calif. (College of the Canyons)
    Da'Rick Rogers, WR, 6-3, 215, Calhoun, Ga. (Calhoun)
    Dontavis Sapp, DB, 6-3, 205, Valdosta, Ga. (Valdosta)
    Matt Simms, QB, 6-3, 215, Franklin Lakes, N.J. (El Camino C.C.)
    Jacques Smith, DL, 6-3, 235, Ooltewah, Tenn. (Ooltewah)
    James Stone, OL, 6-4, 295, Nashville, Tenn. (Maplewood)

    National Signing Day - Feb. 3, 2010 (Click on image to view bio)
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    Signed and Currently Enrolled - Jan. 2010
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