Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

HLL: NY Times Reports NCAA Investigating “Vol Hostesses”

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Tennessee FootballOkay, this pretty much sucks…

As the Vol Ambassador pointed out earlier today here on the Gate, according to the New York Times (which, as a general rule, avoids simply making stuff up), the NCAA is currently engaged in a wide-reaching investigation of recruiting at Tennessee under Lane Kiffin, with an emphasis on the use of the so-called “Vol Hostesses,” (with particular attention being paid to Hostess Lacey Earps), who routinely accompany recruits on visits to campus.  This investigation was confirmed by Mike Hamilton, though he declined to comment on the substance , and the UTAD has since issued an official statement.

The real interest appears to be trips taken by some of the Vol Hostesses to watch potential recruits play as high schoolers.  These visits, especially if they result in direct communications related to the recruiting of the athlete are potentially barred under NCAA regulations.  Times reporters Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans noted instances where Vol Hostesses had traveled as distance up to 200 or more miles to see recruits play, and had occasionally exchanged text messages with potential recruits.

As official representatives of the UT Athletic Department, contact by these Hostesses could lead to secondary violations, even if the contact was not sanctioned by athletic department officials.

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Hostess Gate

Ok.  So by now you’ve already experienced your mini-meltdown over the coaching changes.  If you’re anything like me, you probably went thermo-nuclear when you found out that not only is the NCAA “probing” (ha, I know) the situation with our hostesses, but that they’re contacting our recruitsFret not.  The rumor mill has produced the following information:

1.  Kiffin and staff were aware of this after the fact, but did not ask the hostesses to attend the game.

2.  The hostess at the center of the controversy is originally from South Carolina and went home with some of her friends for the weekend.  While there, they attended Lattimore’s game.  Apparently they’re facebook friends.

Irrespective of how this turns out, this is not a good development this late in the recruiting game.  Maybe I’m drinking the orange Kool-aid, but something about this isn’t right.  I get Wilson going to LSU and his comments recently should dismiss any notions of foul play there.  What I don’t like is that Gran left and the next day Luc commits to FSU, then Lattimore commits to SC and the NCAA comes knocking.  There are a lot of adjectives being thrown around the message boards to describe Gran, but I’m not sure what actually happened to him.  As far as I can tell, it was too hot in the kitchen for him. I’m ok with that.  I like the idea that our staff is too intense for some people.  Wes Rucker put it best in saying we have a great administration, a ton of money, and a hungry fan base.  Will be fine.

This thing with the hostesses, though, probably looks way worse than it really is.  Were the rules bent?  Maybe, maybe not.  Will there be another Kiffin rule passed in the offseason in response?  You bet.

I have the honor to be, the VolAmbassador | Gate 21

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Tobias Harris is all Vol

Tennessee BasketballSelby who?  Bruce bounced back by getting the #3 PF, #7 player in the country to go with the #6, and #35 SGs in the country.  Billy Donovan’s day just got so much worse.

I have the honor to be, the VolAmbassador | Gate 21

Are All USC Team Meetings Like This?

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

With the obvious connections between the Tennessee coaching staff – Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron – and the USC program, I feel like posting this video is relevant. However the real reason I’m posting it is because I think it’s awesome. You may have already seen it, but in case you hadn’t…

YouTube Preview Image

Doesn’t that just look really fun? If you ever wonder why recruits pick USC, this – and the winning doesn’t hurt either – is why. Pete Carroll is just a cool dude. He’s got his own channel on YouTube with almost 100 videos of a wide variety, including some of pranks they’ve played in practices the past years.

I had an assignment in my sportswriting class this past spring (I’ve debated posting parts of it) where I had to right a long (2,500 words or so) profile story. I chose Carroll, and in my researching the guy I have gained nothing but respect for him as coach (yes, I’m aware of the Reggie Bush incidents). I used to really dislike the Trojans, but thanks to that story and the connections between Kiffin, Coach O and Carroll, I have changed my stance on USC.

You might also be thinking, “Why aren’t they watching film?” or something like that. Well, when you have those kind of players, you can fudge a team meeting or two right?

If there’s a program to model yours after, it’s USC – we’ve got a couple of coaches who helped build it.

About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 4

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by:

Vol Junkies

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Vol Junkies, who has served up another installment of questions burning in the minds of the citizens of Orange Nation.

Thus, here are our thoughts for the week:

Week 4

1) What is your thought on Eric Berry’s Heisman chances?  Should he play on offense in-order to increase his chances?  Is Kiffin being to selfish saying Berry will not practice offense?

bullet HSH: I’m not exactly how real Berry’s chances of actually winning the Trophy—which I deemed meaningless after the Manning debacle.  Not only does he have the obstacle of being a defensive player, he has to basically beat Colt McCoy from Texas, Sam Bradford from Oklahoma and some guy named Tebow.  I don’t think Lane Kiffin should play Berry on offense just to help his Heisman chances.  If our offense is seriously sucking, then sure, desperate times call for desperate measures.

That said, I have absolutely no problem with the University doing the whole campaign thing.  Berry is obviously a special, once-in-a-while player with a great attitude.  Seeing him in person on and off the field the past two years has been something I’m glad to have been a part of—now if only he might consider staying for his senior year…


bullet Lawvol: I have very mixed (albeit not necessarily negative) feelings on this.

First of all, I personally believe that Eric Berry is more than deserving of a shot at the Heisman Trophy.  In two short years he has pretty much become the man-beast of SEC defenses and is, hands down, the best defensive player in the toughest conference in the country.  I personally believe that he is the best defensive player in any conference, anywhere.  That, however, is just my opinion and I will be the first to admit that I am biased.  Still, there is no arguing with the fact that Eric Berry has earned the right to be considered among the top players in the country this season and to be considered for the Heisman.  I am unequivocally behind the Tennessee’s campaign to promote Berry’s Heisman candidacy.

That said, I am less that optimistic about his chances…

I say that because, since only one truly defensive player has previously won the Heisman—which I am sure every Tennessee fan remembers all too well—the precedent is somewhat weak.  Furthermore, given the national media’s love affair with Tim Tebow, I expect that every possible machination that can occur to ensure Tebow winning the trophy for the second time will be brought to bear, if at all possible.

There is also the fact that exaggerated hype often leads to less-than-stellar performances since, with everyone talking about how great a particular player is, the target on their back gets even bigger when facing opponents.  That is not to say that I doubt Berry’s ability to produce in the same way he has in the past, but recognizes that opposing teams will be gunning for him … and staying away from him.

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Back from Vacation, Vols Start Preseason Camp

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

In exactly one month and one day Tennessee will open up the 2009 season here in Knoxville against Western Kentucky. And if you weren’t ready for the season already, you’d better start getting ready, as the Vols open up the preseason camp today.

After spending the last part of last week down in Gulf Shores, Alabama, I’m ready for September 5th to get here. It’s going to be my last season of UT football as a UT student, and I’m ready to get last season out of my mind completely (and to figure out how the new student ticket system is/is not going to work). The last time I walked out of Neyland Stadium? The Wyoming game. You see my point…

But while I was down on vacation, three things stoked my anticipation not only from September through November (and hopefully as close to January as possible), but for this coming four weeks of practices. Those three things and my preseason practice thoughts after the jump.

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Recruiting, Recruiting, Recruiting

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Tennessee’s quarterback situation is no secret. As of now, Nick Stephens is the only scholarship QB slated to be on the roster this time in 2010, pending the likely addition of junior college QB Nick Lamaison, who would join the Vols when practice opens up in a couple weeks. This is what happens when you fail to recruit a QB for a couple of consecutive years, and obviously it’s certainly an uncomfortable situation.

Adding even more discomfort are two things involving this year’s QB class: first, by most accounts it’s a “down” year – as in there’s no true standout(s). Second, UT has swung and missed on a number of QB targets up to this point, almost to the point where frantically pressing the big red panic button becomes an acceptable behavior.

Nevertheless, Tennessee has one last – and slightly fading – glimmer of hope in Jesse Scroggins. As you probably know, Tennessee’s been in the mix with Scroggins for quite awhile, and all that work will come to a conclusion sometime tomorrow, when Scroggins is slated to announce his decision between USC, the hometown school, Tennessee and Florida. Most feel Scroggins is a Trojan lock. I accepted this as the outcome about a month ago, when SC offered him a scholarship following an impressive camp performance.

TUESDAY NIGHT MINI-UPDATE: Jesse Scroggins has pushed back his announcement to Thursday at noon Pacific, 3 p.m. Eastern time, according to VolQuest and VolNation message boards, which are getting this information from Scroggins’ MySpace page. It seems to me that if he was going to USC, he would have just come out and done so already, or done so with his teammate, safety Dion Bailey, who committed last week. I still think he’s a Trojan, but I’ll just say this: if he commits to Florida, I’ll literally throw up.

Jesse Scroggins announces tomorrow Thursday

After Scroggins, I have NO IDEA where Tennessee will turn next in their search for a QB.

Looking at the bigger picture, however, the following of recruiting has blown up in the last decade or so, thanks in large part to sites such as Rivals and Scout. Some of you may have have dived head-first into the phenomenon, others of you may not have even heard of Jesse Scroggins or may not even be able to name a current Tennessee commitment.

As for me, I didn’t really begin following the year-round recruiting season until I went to college back in 2006. But since then, I’ve probably procrastinated more time by looking at recruiting sites and following the various message boards rumors and what-not than I should have. Why? Because it’s addictive.

However, I’m a relatively glass half-full type of fan, so amidst all the hoopla surrounding the college choices of high school seniors, I try not to get caught up to much into it all. So, as it relates to this year’s class and more importantly tomorrow’s Scroggins decision (and the likely impending meltdown), I’ve offered five reasons why fans shouldn’t be losing any sleep over recruiting at this point in time.

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