Recruiting Spotlight will take an in depth look at Vol c..."/> Recruiting Spotlight will take an in depth look at Vol c..."/>

Recruiting Spotlight: Who are the Impact Players from the 2012 Class?


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. 

Howdy, it’s been a while. With the whirlwind of National Signing Day passing us by along with Derek Dooley finishing out his staff with the hires of S/T Coach Charlie Coiner and DB Coach Derrick Ansley, the Volunteers have not had a shortage of news.

However, now that the NSD buzz has died down a bit and teams begin prepping for Pro-Timing Days and Spring Practice, we want to break down the Top Five impact players for the Vols this season and I’ll break down just what role these guys will play.

But first, fact time. The 1939 Tennessee Vols were the last College Football team to hold their opponents scoreless the entire season. Use this in conversation, feel smart, you know the drill.

Honorable Mention — DB, Deion Bonner

Bonner was a 5-star, Rivals Top 100 player before his incident in the Georgia locker room. Bonner has quick hips, a fast twitch, and tackles considerably well for a corner back and has all the looks of an impact player for the Volunteers. I’d expect him to play in spots as he gives Prentiss Wagner breaks and should step into a starting role in the 2013 season. Lots and lots of potential here for this young man.

#5 — RB, Davante Bourque

Bourque could be just what the Vols have been looking for. When asked to describe his running style he stated, “I try to mimic my game after Darren McFadden.” That has to only be music to the ears of Vol fans who had to painfully endure the nation’s 116th rushing attack last season. Bourque is a bigger back and does seem a little more susceptible to injury, but if he remains healthy he is the bell cow who can really make an impact in the SEC when teamed up with Marlin Lane.

#4 — DE, Darrington Sentimore

Honestly, I consider Sentimore to be the Vols’ most underrated prospect. This cat would have started on Alabama’s defense this season had he stayed with the Tide. Now he is reunited in what will be a very similar 3-4 scheme run by his former coach Sal Sunseri. This has the makings of a perfect storm. I have no honest idea how this kid was rated a 3-star by Rivals because if you can start in the SEC as a sophomore then you obviously have talent, and a lot of it. Look for Sentimore to start next season at DE and make a large impact for the new look Vols on defense.

#3 — S, LaDarrell McNeil

Since Sentimore is the most underrated, this guy follows as my straight up favorite prospect. McNeil is just a head hunter. If you got excited when you heard Bourque tell the media that he is mimicing his game after McFadden you’ll lose your mind when you hear that McNeil mimics his game after former-Vol Eric Berry. Yeah, drink that in. What was lacked all year in the Vols secondary, an enforcer, just stepped onto campus. McNeil may not start at the beginning of the season because there will be a learning curve, but this guy is far too talented to sit the bench for too long and should be starting by the Georgia game. This kid has Eric Berry skill, maybe not quite there yet, but he has all the makings of the next great Tennessee safety.

#2 — WR, Cordarrelle Patterson

Wide Receiver U has returned. With the addition of Patterson, the top rated JUCO player this past season, the Vols now will boast Justin Hunter, Da’Rick Rogers, and Patterson in three-wide sets. Tell me of a more talented group of receivers? You’d have to look in the NFL to find a combination of talent like that. What I love about Patterson is he now creates matchup nightmares for teams. You essentially have three number one wideouts who, give the opportunity, can strike at any moment. These three amigos will drive defensive coordinators insane. Also, CP returns kicks and is as explosive as they come. A returning duo of Patterson and Devrin Young is ten times as explosive as the Vols have had in a long time. If this doesn’t make you excited, nothing will.

#1 — DT, Daniel McCullers

Mt. McCullers himself tops off this list and would you expect anything different? The 6’7″ 380 pound beast just screams match-up nightmare for any team he is facing this season. What you have to love about McCullers is the fact that he gives the Vols a legitimate Nose Tackle for their transition to the 3-4 and offers a chance for the Vols to finally have a legitimate chance to take the next step as a whole defensive unit. McCullers has ‘Terrence Cody’ potential for the Volunteers this season. Also note, this kid has only 25% body fat… For a man that big, it proves just how strong he is. This kid will be a monster. Buckle up Vol fans, it’s gonna be a great year.

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