National Signing Day…That’s a Wrap

I suppose I came into today in the same fashion I did most of the games this past football season:

Hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.

The difference was that, while I realized that the chances of a landslide of commitments to Tennessee was unlikely, I also just felt good about things.  I felt that — given the short time Lane Kiffin and his new staff had to actually recruit — Tennessee would hold its own.  Turns out I was right.  I felt confident the Vols would show well (Scout #22, Rivals #23), but with all that’s transpired in the last 12 months, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t just a little bit of a surprise.

After the turmoil of this past football season, pleasant surprises are … well … pleasantly surprising (gee, that was profound).

More importantly, however, I was seriously impressed with Coach Kiffin‘s comments this evening at his post-Signing Day press conference.  His message was clear:

This is only the beginning.  This is where it starts.  This is Tennessee…

Video: Lane Kiffin: Signing Day for UT

Despite the fact that Tennessee was not in the top-10, the Vols were constantly on the lips of talking heads throughout the day.  Furthermore, given the fact that the Vols have only had a full coaching staff for approximately 2-3 weeks, it is almost a little amazing that the Orange were even in running for some players, but all day long Tennessee kept being in the top-3, or top-2 for great recruits.  Even better is the fact that there are now 19 players — solid choices, not “settle for” recruits — for whom the Vols were the choice.

To each of the young men who chose to wear those orange shirts, I say welcome.  We’re glad to have you…

There were so many great points made by Kiffin this evening.  Here were the ones that stood out to me:

  • You don’t take players just to take players – Tennessee was selective, choosing the people that our staff felt were needed;
  • Tennessee got great recruits with only a few months or weeks to seal the deal, competing against coaches who had been recruiting the same players for years — next year, that does not apply;
  • When Kiffin first arrived at Southern Cal, the team had a losing record — obviously that changed;
  • This is only the starting point — from here it only goes up.

With the foundation the Tennessee staff laid today, I am finally beginning to feel really confident about the future of the program.  I firmly believe that things are moving purposefully.  What’s more, it is obvious Kiffin has a plan about where it is we are going.

For me, today was a success and I am happy.  After all, you don’t judge a race winner by where they started, you judge them by where they finish.  Kiffin made it clear that finish is far down the road, but the Vols are gaining speed and expecting to win.

Yeah, today Tennessee got a little bit of its swagger back…

– So it goes …Email lawvol

Video Courtesy ofGoVolsXtra

About the Author: "Lawvol" -- I'm just a guy living in North Carolina who has an unnatural fascination with the color orange. Just because I'm a Tennessee alum and die-hard Volunteer fan doesn't mean that I can't poke a little fun at the Big Orange and anybody else for that matter. Feel free to complain all you want. >> Read more from this author

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4 Responses to “National Signing Day…That’s a Wrap”

  • hooperNo Gravatar says:

    What a rush!

    That was one of the wildest NSD’s I’ve ever watched. In particular, it contrasts against last year’s class; where we once saw Fulmer’s late-running magic disappear in a disappointing thirty-somethingth finish, we now see Kiffin’s/Kiffin’s/Orgeron’s/etc’s brute-force persistence pay off in just a few short weeks. Sure, it’s not a top-5 class, but perhaps we can admit that this is actually a step upward for the Vols and that returning to the ’98 glory is only found by traveling down a long, rough road.

    Now let’s see how well these master recruiters can coach…

  • hooperNo Gravatar says:

    By the way, your little widget was a slick device. I had a good chance to play with it when our server went under; nice stuff.

  • lawvolNo Gravatar says:

    @ Hooper
    I am with you man. I have never been much of a recruiting junkie, but this year got me excited. I was as into it as I could be (considering I was sitting in a deposition most of the day).

    On the whole I was seriously impressed with what Kiffin was able to do.

  • [...] In all, Tennessee landed eighteen signees, good enough for 23rd in the Rivals rankings and 22nd in the Scout rankings. Auburn, which was in the same position as Tennessee (being behind due to a late coaching change), was 15th and 18th. If the Kiffin Recruiting Chimera did anything wrong over the past few months, it was not hiring Trooper Taylor. Still, Tennessee was selective and successful and although there were some inevitable disappointments along the way, there were some fantastic surprises. Shoot, Lawvol even worked a “woo” into his deposition. By the way, Lawvol also has his second installment of the Cost of Sports up and sets forth in nice, bold bullets for us some of the better points Lane Kiffin made in his post-NSD press conference. [...]

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