Tag Archives: DaVonte Lambert

As Vols wait on word from DaVonte Lambert, a look at UT’s 3 juco signees in the fold (videos)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Junior college defensive end DaVonte Lambert is expected to choose between Tennessee and Auburn at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, but three other signees are already in the fold.

All three of the new Vols could play an important role in 2014. Von Pearson (in the top video) is a 6-foot-3 wideout from Virginia who spent the last two years at California junior college. Along with freshman signee Josh Malone, he’s expected to fight for a spot in the receiver rotation from Day 1.

Offensive tackle Dontavius Blair (below) is a 6-foot-8 giant who the Vols are hoping will lock down one of the five vacancies on the offensive line this spring.

Owen Williams (below) isn’t as highly rated as the first two prospects, but he plays defensive tackle, where the Vols urgently need bodies.

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Tennessee recruiting: Vols have needs but also flexibility on defensive line

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Butch Jones watches practice last week (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s aggressive recruiting efforts show no signs of slowing, even as the Vols push past the 30-man limit in their class.

Cory Thomas was the latest player to verbally commit to the 2014 class.

Here’s a look at Tennessee’s class within the context of its current roster. Be sure to check out the disclaimer and details below.

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I’ve tweaked the breakdown above, adding a section for roster non-contributors. These are players who are in at least their second year in the program and have not contributed and don’t appear close to contributing right now. I didn’t want to single anyone out, but in order to provide a clear picture of the recruiting efforts, those numbers needed to be considered.

The usual caveat applies: This is a speculative exercise and may not match UT’s goals, strategy, etc.

The only major issue remains at defensive tackle, but that’s somewhat misleading, as many defensive tackles start their career at end.

Daniel McCullers (facing camera) chats with Trevarris Saulsberry before the Auburn game.

Even so, with Daniel McCullers and Daniel Hood graduating, the Vols would love to have more depth inside — both on the current roster, and in the 2014 class.

Who could grow into a defensive tackle? Anyone, really, including several options on the current roster. But if you’re looking for a big run-stuffer in the mold of McCullers, the options are more limited.

Dimarya Mixon (6-3, 265) is the only player listed as a tackle among the current group of commitments.

DaVonte Lambert (listed at 6-3, 275), Derek Barnett (6-3, 265), Thomas (6-6, 270) and DeWayne Hendrix (6-5 254) are all big ends, while Joe Henderson (6-3, 228) is in the lighter, weak-side mold.

Obviously, all heights and weights should be taken with a grain of salt, but compare those numbers to Hood (6-4, 277), McCullers (6-8, 351) and reserve tackle Trevarris Saulsberry (6-4, 291). Except for McCullers, the differences aren’t immense.

Marlon Walls (6-2, 272) is mainly an end now, although he’s played tackle before and frequently will move inside on passing downs when speed rushers come in.

Vols freshman tackle Jason Carr (6-5, 285) played briefly this year but will have a chance to earn more playing time in 2014.

Long story short, will defensive tackle be a concern in 2014? Probably. A crisis? Perhaps not.

Tennessee 2014 recruiting: A look at the Vols’ needs after some additions and subtractions

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Vols have added an elite defensive lineman since we last took a big-picture view of their 2014 recruiting efforts.

The verbal commitment of DaVonte Lambert gives UT a highly rated player at a position of need (defensive line). Plus, he’ll come in with two years of junior college seasoning and thus be more likely to play right away.

UT also lost two players when veterans Naz Oliver, a defensive back, and Channing Fugate, a linebacker, decided to move on.

Fugate has landed back in his home state at Eastern Kentucky. Because both players are seniors, their departure doesn’t affect the 2014 recruiting calculus in any way.

With about five spots left, the Vols have essentially met all their needs except for the offensive line.

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Remember the projected numbers at each position aren’t written in stone and are merely estimates of what the average SEC team might want. Teams could easily get away with fewer than 14 offensive lineman, as that’s a developmental position and not one in which players start from Day 1. However, there are only 85 scholarship spots to play with. And if UT coaches would like to have, say, 15 receivers, as I believe they do, those numbers must be deducted somewhere else.

Finally, remember that coaches have a better handle on future attrition than we do. So their recruiting aims often prepare for inevitable departures that have yet to occur.

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