Wednesday, February 01, 2006


UT National Signing Day - Post 10

I have official confirmation that Michael Goggans has decommitted from UT and has signed a Letter of Intent with Auburn. Perry Riley has signed with LSU, although there are some rumors regarding character issues that might indicate that UT might have been better off getting left at the alter on that one. LSU has picked up a few other high-profile recruits, including Charles Deas. LSU joins Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, and USC as teams having stellar days.

UT Commitment #11 - Nick Stephens

Nick Stephens is the lone QB in UT's 2006 class. Stephens is the #15 pro-style QB in the country according to Rivals. He comes to Tennessee from Flower Mound, Texas, and has a nice frame for a QB at 6'3" and 195 pounds. Besides Tennessee, Stephens was being recruited by Ole Miss, Michigan, Baylor, and Colorado. He can't wait to get to Knoxville.

"The biggest thing about Tennessee is that I just felt at home in Knoxville when I was there on my visit. I felt comfortable with the town, and I loved the sense of family there with the coaches and the players. As far as coaching goes, Coach Cutcliffe is a great guy. He's sort of laid back and he can teach the game real well. I think that I can be real productive under him and learn a lot."

Stephens is certainly raw, having played only one year as a starting high school QB. In watching film, he certainly doesn't seem to have the skills of a Jonathan Crompton or Jimmy Clausen, for sure. In my opinion, Stephens gives the Vols a capable backup in case Erik Ainge doesn't find the form (physically and mentally) that he had in 2004. He just doesn't seem to have all the tools that one needs to be a starting QB in the SEC.

UT Commitment #12 - Daniel Lincoln

Daniel Lincoln (6'0", 196 lbs.) will join the UT team as a kicker. He hails from Ocala, Florida, and was recruited by Memphis, Stanford, LSU, and Rice, in addition to Tennessee. Lincoln's recruitment was unusual. After seeing film of the kicker and seeing him kick in one game, Coach Fulmer called Daniel who, while at dinner with his friends, accepted the offer without ever seeing the Tennessee campus. Lincoln is ranked the #19 kicker in the country, and he has hit field goals in practice from 65 yards.

UT Commitment #13 - Chase Nelson

Chase Nelson isn't one of the names that is being talked about in this class, but he will more than likely be one of the biggest impact players in his career at UT. Tennessee survived a tough recruiting battle with Oklahoma (Nelson's in-state school), Texas Tech, UCLA, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Kansas State, amongst others, for the 6'4", 255 pound defensive end's signature. Nelson's high school coach, Bill Blankenship, feels that Tennessee got a special player in Nelson:

"Chase is just one of those special bodies with long arms and tons of talent. You add that with the fact that he has great grades, and he was a big target for a lot of schools. Defensive linemen are hard to find anyway, but if you find a guy like Chase with all the physical characteristics and the grades, he's going to be a solid kid."

On film, you have to love the way that Nelson rushes the QB. With his long arms and 4.8 speed, he is a true edge rusher in the mould of Leonard Little or Constantine Ritzman. He probably needs a year in the weight room, but Nelson could crack the DE rotation as early as 2007.

UT Commitment #14 - Stephaun Raines

Stephaun Raines, a 6'0", 172 pound cornerback from Dalton, Georgia, is another mystery for me. Much like Garretson, he seems like a great, quality young man who really wants to be a Volunteer. However, Raines doesn't have the look of an SEC corner. Rated as a 2-star player by Rivals, Raines chose Tennessee over South Carolina, Arkansas, MTSU, and UAB. He is certainly fast, posting a 4.4 in the 40. He just doesn't seem to have the cover skills that the corners being signed by Florida State, Florida, LSU, etc., have at this time. But, as I said, he seems to be a quality young man, and those type of people often end up surprising you. Plus, you can't coach speed - you either have it or you don't. Raines needs to gain some weight without losing that speed, but Coach Johnnie Long can help him with that development. It wouldn't surprise me if we don't see Raines having significant playing time until 2008, if then.

More to come...

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