Wednesday, February 01, 2006


UT National Signing Day - Post 13

UT now has 21 Letters of Intent in hand. The two newest Vols are below:

UT Commitment #20 - Jacques McClendon

Jacques McClendon, the 6'3", 295-pound offensive guard from Baylor High School, has signed with his homestate Tennessee Volunteers. It seems like an eternity ago when McClendon first verbally committed to UT, as he did so in December of 2004 during his junior year of high school. McClendon is an athletic guard with good footwork, and that is demonstrated by his ranking as the #9 Offensive Guard in the nation. Tennessee coaches - particularly Steve Caldwell - had to work a long time to fend off Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Notre Dame from turning McClendon's head. David Bibee, Chattanooga Baylor coach, said the following about McClendon:

"I knew in the ninth grade that he was going to be a college player. He was just bigger, stronger and quicker than everyone else. Strength wise now he benches over 400 pounds and we can get enough weight for him to squat."

As the U.S. Army All-Star Game proved, McClendon still has to work on his technique, particularly regarding using his arms to keep defensive tackles away from his body.

UT Commitment #21 - Cody Pope

Cody Pope, who received an offer from the Southern Cal juggernaut only a few days ago, has kept true to his word and has signed with The University of Tennessee. Pope, who attends Cathedral Catholic in San Diego, California, is an underrated offensive lineman who, along with Ramone Johnson and Jacques McClendon, helps to form an imposing offensive line class (the strength of UT's class this year). At 6'5" and 268 pounds, Cody needs to add some muscle to his ample frame. However, Pope reminds me of the offensive linemen that UT used to have back in the early 1990s - the ones that could get out on screens and block downfield. It wouldn't surprise me to see him as a guard or center (if Josh McNeil has trouble overcoming his injuries) and seeing playing time around 2007. It also helps Tennessee to pull another talented player out of California, especially with the talent (including Jimmy Clausen) coming out of that state in 2007.

Pope's signature makes it appear that Tennessee has locked up all of their verbal commitments except for Dustin Lindsey ( who is set to sign this hour) and Goggans' decommitment. Besides that, Davis and Mullins have yet to announce and could surprise, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Tennessee has fallen one spot today to #23 in the rankings. In an amazing twist, the master recruiter Phil Fulmer's recruiting ranking is ten spots lower than the men's basketball team. Who could have ever saw that coming last August?

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