KNOXVILLE — The shuffling has continued for Tennessee’s 2012 football recruiting class.
After two junior college players signed elsewhere and UT parted ways with a high school running back last month, the Volunteers have lost two more committed prospects the past two days.
Keithon Redding, a receiver from Decatur’s Columbia High School in Georgia, decommitted from UT on Monday. The 6-foot, 190-pound Redding pledged to the Vols in July, but he noticed a change he didn’t like when receivers coach Charlie Baggett left the program after the 2011 season.
“I made my commitment based on Coach Baggett because I had a real close relationship with him,” Redding said in an interview with the Times Free Press on Monday night. “My commitment was based on him, really, but once he left, everything seemed to change for me. It’s like I lost contact with Tennessee once he left.
“It was my decision. I sat down with my family, and we all came to the conclusion that it would be best for me if I just left.”
Redding said Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Louisville already had made contact. He also held scholarship offers from Alabama, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. The Vols now have three committed receivers: Drae Bowles, Jason Croom and Alton Howard.
UT lost a linebacker when Khalid Henderson went public Sunday night with his decommitment. Attempts to reach Henderson on Monday were unsuccessful, but the standout at Pebblebrook High School in Austell, Ga., detailed his decision to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He referenced a conversation with UT head coach Derek Dooley following his official visit in early December.
“Coach Dooley said there is a possibility you might not be coming to Tennessee,” Henderson told the paper. “He said you have two options: You can stay committed to us, wait it out and see what other players do, or you can decommit and try to get some attention from other schools, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come to Tennessee or whatever. He was very iffy about everything. He wouldn’t say anything concrete.
“He kept on using that word, ‘possibility.’ I thought it was a bunch of crap. I guess if Tennessee is out there looking for other linebackers, then I can go find another place to go. Tennessee is where I wanted to go and that’s where I’ve been loyal to ever since June, but it is what it is.”
Henderson told the AJC that Dooley had some concerns about his weight. He added that he still has a scholarship offer from Ole Miss and has received interest from Georgia.
Otha Peters, Justin King and Dalton Santos are UT’s remaining linebacker commitments.
The Vols currently stand at 19 public commitments. UT can sign 24 players under the Southeastern Conference’s new 25-player rule, and 2011 defensive back signee and grayshirt Tino Thomas will use one spot. Signing day is Feb. 1.
Contact Patrick Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...