How the recruiting sites projected Tennessee’s roster: A ranking from 1 to 82

Ja'Wuan James, recruiting rankings

Ja’Wuan James is the only consensus five-star player on Tennessee’s roster. (Photo from GoVolsXtra)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — For most players who sign with a college team out of high school, their recruiting ranking is quickly forgotten. But for elite prospects, the burden or benefit of that high ranking doesn’t go away.

We reviewed the rankings for the Vols’ 82 scholarship players to see which high school prep stars were highly regarded and which ones were less acclaimed.

The numbers are from the 247Sports composite average, which aggregates the rankings of all the major recruiting services. In that sense, this is a good way to get a “consensus” ranking. Some services might have ranked players higher or lower.

It’s not fair to go down the list and rate each career in light of a high school ranking. Injuries happen. Coaches come and go. In many ways, juniors and seniors who are still around have already beaten the odds, given the degree of attrition in college football.

That said, let’s highlight a few notable rankings.

  •  Most of the sites use an NFL standard in their rankings. That is, the site project five-star players to be first-round NFL draft picks. Ja’Wuan James may or may not be a first-round pick, but if he has a solid senior season, most expect James will be off the board pretty early. Score a win for the recruiting sites on that one.

Another offensive lineman, Antonio “Tiny” Richardson, just missed being a consensus five-star prospect. Most expect he will go pro early and be drafted quickly as well.

  •  The only two-star players on the roster — linebackers Raiques Crump and Dontavis Sapp — are not stars, but they’ve both had very respectable careers. Sapp in particular could start as a senior and has earned praise from coaches for his leadership.
  •  The Vols likely have fewer four-star players than most current SEC rosters, but there are very few true busts in this group. Even those who haven’t reached the stardom predicted for them have still been solid contributors. (The jury is still out on many of the younger players, of course. In particular, receiver Drae Bowles and defensive lineman Danny O’Brien carry the burden of high rankings that might be difficult to live up to).
  • Among the three-star players who form the bulk of the Vols’ roster, fewer players stand out. Daniel Hood and Zach Fulton, both mid-range three-stars, are looking to put the finishing touches on solid careers in 2013. Others are awaiting their first opportunity at real playing time, while others have largely been passed over on the depth chart.

Here’s the full list:

Five stars

1. Ja’Wuan James 0.9845

Four stars

2. Corey Miller 0.9701

3. MarQuez North 0.9574

4. Antonio Richardson 0.9564

5. LaDarrell McNeil 0.9554

Jacques Smith, recruiting rankings

Jacques Smith was a four-star prospect out of Ooltewah, Tenn. (News Sentinel photo)

6. Jacques Smith 0.9439

7. A.J. Johnson 0.9371

8. Curt Maggitt 0.931

9. Joshua Dobbs 0.9276

10. Marlin Lane 0.9272

11. Maurice Couch 0.9267

12. Marlon Walls 0.9222

13. Byron Moore 0.9207

14. Jason Carr 0.9197

15. Danny O’Brien 0.9181

16. Drae Bowles 0.9144

17. Jason Croom 0.9122

18. Alton Howard 0.9063

19. James Stone 0.9056

20. Jalen Reeves-Maybin 0.9051

21. Marcus Jackson 0.9011

22. Rajion Neal 0.9002

23. Alex Bullard 0.9002 (transfer)

Three stars

24. Nathan Peterman 0.8884

25. Kyler Kerbyson 0.8839

26. Ryan Jenkins 0.8832

27. Naz Oliver 0.8801

28. Justin Coleman 0.8801

29. LaTroy Lewis 0.8798

30. Austin Sanders 0.8793

31. Daniel McCullers 0.8785

32. Riley Ferguson 0.8741

33. Paul Harris 0.868

34. Corey Vereen 0.8678

35. Lemond Johnson 0.8656

36. Vincent Dallas 0.864

Michael Palardy, recruiting rankings

Michael Palardy was rated very highly for a kicker. (News Sentinel photo)

37. Michael Palardy 0.8632

38. Jordan Williams 0.8625

39. Cameron Sutton 0.8625

40. Greg King 0.862

41. Brendan Downs 0.8614

42. Mack Crowder 0.86

43. Brian Randolph 0.859

44. Tom Smith 0.8584

45. Justin Worley 0.8575

46. Jaylen Miller 0.8566

47. Marques Pair 0.8558

48. Alan Posey 0.8556

49. Alden Hill 0.8547

50. Zach Fulton 0.8537

51. Channing Fugate 0.8525

52. Geraldo Orta 0.8516

53. A.J. Branisel 0.8503

54. Justin Meredith 0.8497

55. Trevarris Saulsberry 0.8494

56. John Propst 0.8484

57. Matt Darr 0.8479

58. Justin King 0.8475

59. Devrin Young 0.8467

60. Tino Thomas 0.8438

61. Kenny Bynum 0.8425

62. Johnathon Johnson 0.84

63. Malik Brown 0.8387

64. Christian Harris 0.8379

65. Daniel Hood 0.8377

66. Dylan Wiesman 0.8352

67. Cody Blanc 0.8327

68. Brett Kendrick 0.8296

69. Malik Foreman 0.829

70. Allan Carson 0.8286

71. Riyahd Jones 0.8262

72. Josh Smith 0.821

Woody Quinn

Woody Quinn (center) was a volleyball player before returning to football at junior college. (Photo courtesy KNS partner 247Sports)

73. Woody Quinn 0.8091

74. Gregory Clark 0.8004

75. George Bullock 0.8

Two stars

76. Raiques Crump 0.7889

77. Dontavis Sapp 0.7778

Not ranked

78. Jacob Carter n/a

79. Joseph Ayres n/a

80. Brent Brewer n/a

81. Gregory Grieco n/a

82. Jaron Toney n/a

If you want to see the full roster with position, hometown and other details, click here.