Recruiting Recruiting

Recruiting Spotlight: Dalton Santos


Recruiting Spotlight will take an in depth look at Vol commitments from the Class of 2012 and provide insight into where the player fits into the team and the impact they will have. 

Dalton Santos is not just your average Middle Linebacker playing Texas High School Football… He’s much more than that. This 6’2″ 245 pound monster was clocked at 4.6 for his 40-yard-dash time and many Strength and Conditioning Coaches feel they can even get him quicker.

Dalton has said many times that he, “loves the pressure of playing in front of 100,000 fans, it just gets me going.” What is not to love about this guy? If there is anyone who truly WANTED it, it’s certainly this guy.

Looking deeper, Santos is the #1 rated Middle Linebacker in the ESPN Rankings and sits as a rock solid 4-star commitment for the Volunteers. Analysis: Not only does the kid have the heart of a leader, he has talent to back it up.

In Dalton’s senior season, Dalton had 148 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and two interceptions in what capped an illustrious career for the budding Van High School Middle Linebacker.

“(In the SEC) they’re going to run the ball 40 times a game, and they’re going to try to run the ball down your throat. A guy like me, that’s what you live for,” Santos said. What more do you want than that? A gamer who is going to go out and just produce. I love it.

Here’s where the fun stuff starts, Santos is a prototypical Mike Linebacker and luckily for Tennessee, they have another prototypical Mike Linebacker already on the team in A.J. Johnson… What does this mean?

Maybe with the addition and possible development of Santos this could help UT really flex this defense and do different things. For instance with two solid Mike’s on the field, a 3-4 defense becomes attainable even just in situational instances. Just another fold in which UT can catch some teams off guard.

Not only that, but it creates a solution to one of the things that has dogged the Vols since the Derek Dooley era began… Depth. With the eventual shift of A.J. Johnson to Mike, you now have a viable SEC Caliber backup behind Johnson and this causes less of a drop off when rotations and substitutions are made. For literary purposes, imagine a plane landing, the job of the landing gear and pilot is to cause as smooth of a transition from air to ground as possible. In the same sense, having depth (and quality depth at that) opens up many more options for a defense that struggled behind a lack of talent and discipline most of the season.

This is what Tennessee has lacked, a star studded recruit who has the ‘Al Wilson’ mindset that he wants to tear your head off and could care less what you think about it. The guy who points you out pre-game and physically beats you up all game long. One word to describe Santos would be relentless… He is relentless in every aspect of life and it pays off and shows that hard work and dedication always will pay off.

If you’re looking for a name to get behind and peg as the leader of this class and one that will leave his mark on UT, it is Dalton Santos. Not to say Al Wilson V2.0 is on his way, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

-Be sure to follow AFT on Twitter and Facebook or contact us by e-mail at