published Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Five at 10: Recruiting finish, final predictions, and the Super Bowl

Here we go...

Recruiting finish

Byron Moore picked the University of Tennessee late Monday night. It is another standout piece in what is shaping up to be a pretty special secondary class for the Vols.

Moore, the No. 5-ranked junior college player in the country, joins UT's star-studded secondary commitments Brian Randolph (who was named a Parade All-American this week), Pat Martin, and Justin Coleman.

How good is the Vols' class in the secondary? Well, of the nine four-star prospects, four are defensive backs.

Moore and fellow junior college defensive back Izauea Lanier could be immediate contributors next fall in a secondary that was besieged by depth issues throughout Derek Dooley's first season.

Moore's addition could mean a big finish for UT, which has a group of commitments that is currently ranked 18th nationally and seventh among SEC teams.

Big one today

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    UT coach Derek Dooley talks to the press.
    Staff Photo by Angela Lewis

The 5-at-10 is a big believer that the most important aspect in recruiting is filling needs. You know this because of today's column in the TFP .

For the Vols, one of their two biggest areas of need could be solved today.

Tight end and defensive tackle are glaring openings on the UT roster, and four-star Memphis standout Cameron Clear is scheduled to announce his commitment today.

Clear is picking between Memphis, Duke, Alabama and Tennessee. He is rated as one of the top 10 offensive tackles in country, but he would prefer to play tight end. And the Vols would love for him to play tight end in Knoxville — and possibly as soon as September.

Here's what we know: Dooley loves to use multiple tight ends. The current assortment of tight ends on the UT roster consists of converted fullback Ben Bartholomew, incoming freshman Brendan Downs, Ben Lehning, Mychal Rivera, Dakota Summers and Matt Wegzyn.

The 5-at-10 is sure that group works hard and their mommas love 'em, but that group offers a clear path to the field for Clear.

Today's 2 p.m. Eastern announcement ranks as one of the two biggest for UT this week.

Prediction: The 5-at-10 thinks there will be a lot of hat shuffling in Memphis today, but in the end Clear will pick the Vols.

Recruiting final predictions

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    Georgia coach Mark Richt looks on from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Clear is a big piece for the Vols, but he's not alone.

There are several schools across the SEC awaiting the final announcements from big-time high school recruits. Here's the 5-at-10's best guess on how select SEC schools finish:

Tennessee: Expect the Vols to add Clear, Antonio Richardson and Lamar Dawson. If Dooley and Co. land those three and can find a way to lure either defensive tackle Gabe Wright from Auburn or Tim Jurnigan, well, this will be a home run class for the Vols.

Georgia: Mark Richt has pushed all his chips in for five-star running back Isaiah Crowell, who will decide between UGA and Alabama. Georgia does not have another full-time running back in this class and if Crowell picks the Tide, well, that's not really good. It'll be OK, though, because look for Crowell to complete the Dream Team of in-state prospects.

Alabama: The Tide will likely land Cyrus Kouandjio. If he joins his brother in Tuscaloosa, it will be the top tackle in the country solidifying the top class in the country. The 5-at-10 would not be shocked in the least of Jeoffrey Pagan picked the Tide on Wednesday, either.

South Carolina: It may take a little longer than originally expected, but the nation's top-recruit, Jadeveon Clowney, will stay with his homestate Gamecocks.

Auburn: The Tigers added the nation's No. 2-ranked cornerback in Marcus Roberson on Monday, and there likely will be a couple of more defensive pieces added. Wright looks to be headed to Auburn as does safety Erique Florence. The Tigers, though, likely will finish second for Kouandjio, and finishing second in recruiting is more painful than finishing 119th.

Super Bowl

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    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles past Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) on a 7-yard touchdown run during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Today all the players will meet with the media horde in preparation for Sunday's Super Bowl.

Here's what will for sure happen:

— Ben Roethlisberger will answer about a bazillion questions about his off-the-field transgressions and how he's a changed man.

— Maurkice Pouncey will answer about a bazillion questions about his injured ankle.

— Aaron Rodgers will talk about waiting his turn and being overlooked and redemption, blah, blah, blah.

— There will be at least a dozen stunts or attention-grabbing attempts such as the marriage lady in years past that proposed to players or the little kid from "Jerry Maguire" or who knows what else.

That said, not enough attention will be paid to Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who was named the NFL defensive player of the year on Monday.

Polamalu is today's 5-at-10 non-quarterback "What does a big Super Bowl mean?"

First off, the top three vote getters (Polamalu, Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews and James Harrison) are in Sunday's game. Second, how great is Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau, who has crafted defenses that have had three different NFL defensive players of the year in his years with the Steelers.

For Polamalu, though, the award was fitting, considering this high praise from teammate Harrison late in the regular season: “Troy brings this defense from a C defense to an A defense. He’s someone you have to account for.”

Sunday's Super Bowl, though could be the big leap for Polamalu. A big game on this stage could take the Steelers safety from a great player to an all-timer — in the conversation with the Ronnie Lotts and the Rod Woodsons and the rest as the best safety to ever play.

NCAA tournament briefing — Vol. 2, Chapter 2

Nice win for Texas last night, going on the road and handling rival Texas A&M in front of a sold-out and hostile crowd.

Nice home win for Georgetown over Louisville, too.

All four of those teams are ranked and will make the tournament, but each is vulnerable to a second-round upset. Know why? Well, that's why we're here.

Each is offensively challenged in a key aspect that was magnified last night: No. 3-ranked Texas shot 59 percent from the foul line; the No. 16 Aggies were 1-of-12 from 3; No. 14 Louisville scored 18 first-half points and shot 35 precent for the game; No. 13 Georgetown played well and still managed only 62 points.

Final thought: Glad UT is retiring Allan Houston's jersey. Dude could flat-out fill it up.

Until tomorrow...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Atruefan said...

FANTASTIC as usual. I am never disappointed in the quality of work found daily at this spot. Thanks for your efforts.

February 1, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.
signalmtnman said...

Expert analysis on Clear pick. Last 12 hours have been great for Vols and if you're close on your other projections this class will be special.

February 1, 2011 at 2:43 p.m.
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