Wednesday, February 01, 2006


UT National Signing Day - Post 11

Some of the big fish in the UT 2006 class have faxed in their Letters of Intent. Here are the newest Vols:

UT Commitment #15 - Brent Vinson

Brent Vinson was one of the top WR targets of the Vols this year, along with Videl Hazelton (USC), Tim Hawthorne (Auburn), and Audrey Baskin (Syracuse). Of those, I would rank Vinson ahead of Hawthorne, even with Baskin (Baskin is bigger, but Vinson is faster), and behind Hazelton. In any case, all of those players are excellent WRs and should see the field early in their careers. Vinson picks Tennessee over Virginia Tech, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Vinson is 6'2", 180 pounds, and runs a 4.3 40. Additionally, Brent can bench 320 pounds, has a 39 inch vertical leap, and a GPA of 3.1. Coach Fulmer can thank Bruce Pearl for assisting in the signing of Vinson, who is best friends with Duke Crews, a UT basketball signee that may start for Pearl's Vols next year.

"It is going to be great having Duke there. It makes it easier to go away from home. But Tennessee has had a great football program for a long time. They have had great players like Peyton Manning and Jamal Lewis and a lot of other guys. Plus, coach Cutcliffe is back to make the offense better."

Vinson likes his odds of gaining early playing time in Knoxville.

"I think I do a good job catching the football. And I understand that they struggled with that last year. But I also can do some things after I make the catch. I like to think that I do a good job with YAC (yards after catch) yards. I like to think that I can take a short pass and turn it into a long gain."

UT Commitment #16 - Ramone Johnson

It's no secret that Phil Fulmer loves big, powerful offensive linemen, and that is one area that is strong in this class. Ramone Johnson, 6'4", 305 pounds, is the first of those linemen to sign. With UT losing out on Antonio Logan-El, the massive lineman from Maryland that I had ranked with Andre Smith as the best in the country, it was imperative to sign Johnson, who hails from one of my old stomping grounds in Chicago. This recruiting battle came down between Tennessee and Illinois, who is coached by ex-Florida coach Ron Zook. When listening to Ramone, you can see why I feel that he will succeed at UT.

"In the end, Tennessee just felt like the better fit for me overall. Everything from the roster situation to getting a chance to play football in the SEC, to the academics and more, I just felt like Tennessee was the best place for me. My official visit to Tennessee was just great. You can't beat southern hospitality. I really felt like I wanted to commit to Tennessee before I left campus on my visit, but I wanted to make sure about my choice and took my last official visit to Illinois. I also told the Illinois coaches that I would take that official visit so I wanted to honor my word with them. This is definitely a business decision for me and I treated my final choice in the same way. I'm doing what I feel is the best thing for me, and Tennessee is where I want to play college football."

On film, Ramone is one of the best drive blockers I have seen in some time. His pass blocking could use some work, but he shows a good motor during games and doesn't seem to take any plays off. He is rated as a 4-star player and the 13th best offensive lineman in the nation.

UT Commitment #17 - Gerald Williams

Many of you may remember Gerald Williams, the 6'4", 225 pound linebacker who was part of UT's 2005 class that was #1 in the country. Williams was not able to enroll and play at UT due to shenanigans with the NCAA Clearinghouse that represents a typical example of how screwed up the NCAA is. Williams returned to South Florida, but he has resigned with the Vols and, notwithstanding any surprises, will be on campus this Fall.

Williams is a wild card. Chavis may elect to use him as a DE, but I kinda hope that they leave him at LB. His film from last year was legendary, and he could crack the starting rotation as early as late this year at MLB.

More to come...

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