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Insider Mailing: Snowpocalypse Edition

Brian Randolph-1

Who is the number 1 target in recruiting for the Vols in 2016? – Matt Rayburn

Houston: Wow, that’s a very tough question to answer this early in the process, especially without knowing which, if any, of Tennessee’s current players blow up in 2015 and perhaps look at leaving early for the NFL.

I do believe the Vols need to get a couple of talented receivers in 2016, so, as far as positions, I think receiver will be near the top of the list in this class. The Vols have already offered close to 30 players at the position, so we’ll see which ones they start keying in on after their Junior Day and heading into spring practice.

Daniel: He may not be No. 1 overall on UT’s board, but for me, DB Joejuan Williams from Father Ryan, is way up there. I love his film, I think he has ideal corner size at 6-2, 195 pounds and controlling Nashville in recruiting is always key. He’s not a five-star or even a top-100 guy right now, but I think he could get bumped up in the rankings, and even if he doesn’t, I think it’s really important for UT to get him with some of the losses in the secondary it will have next year.

In light of recent… Events.. What is the holy grail of places to make whoopie as a Tennessee fan? -Tom Wiklund

Kevin: Complicated questions get complicated answers, Tom, but I’m glad you asked. If you’re intoxicated and the primary objective of your mission is to make that “whoopie,” I think the field or the press box cements your status as a ballsy guy who did something his friends will enjoy talking about for years to come – but that’s the ceiling. If you consider yourself a blue blood though, a guy who takes it all the way for the Vols (pun heavily intended) then you aim for either the desk of one Butch Jones or in the direct vicinity of the ’98 Championship Trophy. You steal home around either of those things and you’re a legend forever in my book.

John: Hang on. After reading Kevin’s answer, I gotta go wash my hands. And possibly throw up.

Okay, I’m back.

Listen, y’all, as a happily married man I cannot comment on such sophomoric hi jinx. I can, however, say this: I once had a friend who hit it near the 25-yard line of that tiny little stadium which Memphis calls home. At the time, my friend was hailed as a swash-buckling, tail-chasing hero. That would change mere hours later.

Because the very next day, Memphis upset Tennessee (and Peyton Manning) thanks largely to a punt return that went for a touchdown by a one Kevin Cobb. WHICH, you might recall, featured a near-fall by Cobb followed by a borderline-miraculous recovery right around…

the 25-yard line. (I still contend his forearm was down…) Proof positive, I say, that football and the bang-bang train don’t always mix.

What does an ideal team/lineup look like for CDT? And don’t just say this year’s UK team. – @alan_baird

Reed: That’s a great question, Alan. They’d love some length and athleticism in the paint, and I think they have it in Owens and Carmichael, they’re just not strong enough yet. Those guys have the length to make their zone defense deadly, but they have to get strong enough to stay out of foul trouble and need to work on their post moves. They’re not as far off at guard as people probably think. More consistent shooting across the board is a must, but guys in the 6-4 to 6-7 range at the 2-3 help shrink passing lanes and result in forced turnovers. Basically – look at LSU this year. If Tyndall had that roster, I think the Vols would easily finish in the top-3 in the SEC and make a deep tournament run.

What is your favorite winter time bass lure? – Matt

Houston: This is the single-greatest question in the history of Insider Mailing, Matt. Thank you for asking. I’d say that it all depends on the lake you are fishing. Here’s a list of local lakes and baits you should be using right now:

Chickamauga: Considering a guy just broke the state record throwing it, I’ll say the Tennessee Rig is a sure bet.

Jerkbaits, Jerkbaits, Jerkbaits…but you have to fish them painfully slow.
Douglas: A big, nasty looking jig. 
Loudoun/Tellico: Go home….fish don’t bite on these lakes in the winter. (At least in my experience.)
Melton Hill: Go to the warm-water discharge near the steam plant and throw a chartreuse deep-diving crankbait. 
Watts Bar: Go near the plant discharge and throw whatever you want…If they’re there, you’ll catch them.

If team 119 could have one player on both sides of the ball from the last 10 years to get them into the SECCG, who would it be? – Todd Dillon

Daniel: Great question. I’m very tempted to go offensive lineman like Ja’Wuan James, but I can’t turn down the explosiveness of Cordarrelle Patterson. Imagine him in this offense – going in motion, taking handoffs and getting in space. With running back depth concerns, he could take some carries there and defenses would have to account for him every single play. He’s one of the most explosive college players I’ve ever seen and he was underutilized under Derek Dooley, so I’d love to see him on this team.

Defensively, I’m torn between Jerod Mayo and Eric Berry. Mayo could step into that inside linebacker spot and fill a huge need immediately. But again, how do you turn down the talent of Eric Berry? I think I would take Berry, let him play all over – nickelback, safety, return game and maybe get him some touches on offense. Tennessee’s going to be good enough to be in virtually every game next year and big plays make the difference in those – something Berry specializes in. There’s definitely a strong argument for either, however.

Houston: I’m with Daniel, here. Give me CP and EB and I’ll see you in Atlanta.

If Tyndall gets to stay, how good can this basketball team be in the next few years after he can recruit more talent? – @RHickson87

Reed: It’s absolutely imperative that this NCAA cloud passes so he can really start recruiting – it lingering will only slow the rebuilding process – but I think, within three years, Tennessee will be a top-3 team in the SEC. They’ve struggled a bit lately, yet, with the most limited Vol roster I’ve seen since the mid-90s, they’ve definitely overachieved. Home wins over Arkansas and Butler were huge. His zone is extremely tough to prepare for (the Vols held Kentucky well under their season average for shooting percentage on Tuesday) and his offense, when he gets some players in, will be very, very good (recall all the easy buckets Tennessee’s has scored out of timeouts).

I think he’d have Tennessee in the NCAA tournament nearly every year with the Vols making routine Sweet 16 appearances, and perhaps further runs, in short order if/when the NCAA cloud passes.

Daniel: I honestly think, down the road a bit, he can have them in the NCAA tournament hunt every year with the possibility of making a deeper run from time to time if whatever NCAA issues he may end up facing don’t put a long-term handicap on his recruiting. And that’s not just me saying that because we cover the Vols – I’ve spoken to several outside the program who really know the game and think he’s already a top 3-4 coach in the league in terms of schematic coaching, so if he gets his guys in, there’s no reason to think he can’t have consistent success in Knoxville.

If you could pick 3 VOLS to get snowed in with, who would you pick and why? – @PopcornSutton__

Houston: Former or current? I’ll do both.

1: Peyton. No explanation needed.
2: Swain. Because Swain is my guy.
3: Al Wilson. He’d teach me how to be a man.

1: Dobbs. I just feel like I’d learn a lot from him.
2: Von Pearson. High swag-factor.
3: Kahlil McKenzie. No explanation needed.

Which current Vol would you guys say will have the most successful pro career overall? – Michael Walker

Daniel: Glad you asked, I happened to do an article relating to this issue right before I saw your question. Of the guys that will be draft eligible next year, I think Cam Sutton is your best overall bet. I found one mock draft that has him as high as a top-10 pick in 2016. Not sure if I’m ready to project that high yet, but he’ll be a starting corner in the NFL for many years in my estimation – it’s just a matter of when he wants to go. He’s not draft eligible until 2017, but Derek Barnett might be the best NFL prospect currently on campus for the Vols, however.

Reed: Cam Sutton is definitely the obvious choice at this point. He’s a fantastic athlete who works hard and has great instincts. His game projects extremely well at the next level. He’ll be a wealthy man for a long time if he stays healthy. Curt Maggitt and Derek Barnett certainly have immense pro potential. Those are the safe bets at this point. Time for some under the radar names like Ethan Wolf (complete tight end), Todd Kelly Jr. (crazy good athlete), Evan Berry (one of the best returners in the nation last year) and Jalen-Reeves Maybin (he could fit several systems at the next level).

For the third time, Skoal or Copenhagen? – Seth Hughes

John: I roll with Skoal, but I also roll with the wuss pouches because, I dunno, I’m sorta losing touch and whatnot. Plus, I don’t like to worry about stuff getting in my teeth, etc…

That said, I used to wear Copenhagen out. Till I heard that there were tiny glass shards in it which helped the tobacco get into your system faster. While it’s obvious it’s an urban legend (I think, right?), it freaked me out to where I went down a notch to Skoal.

Kevin: Thank you to my more handsome cousin Seth for this question. Skoal is the caviar of mouth cancer, and should be dipped out of respect to said mouth because it can appease an oral fixation and the ladies love a man who dips the Skoal brand. That all being said, I remember with fondness the Copenhagen period of my life, it fell hand in hand with the Natural Light cans period of my life. At the end of the day look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself; “how much of an American Patriot do I feel like being today?” and if the answer is less than 110%, get the Skoal and enjoy the extra years with your jaw intact.

Reed: People absolutely butcher the names of Butch Jones and Donnie Tyndall all the time. It’s inexcusable, really. If I had a nickel for every time someone called Butch Jones “Butch Davis” I’d be on an island avoiding this miserable weather right now. It’s insane how often people mislabel Butch. Donnie Tyndall gets the Ten-Dale and Ten-Doll treatment from many national media types, which might actually be worse. But combining them both to Donnie Jones is new low from Ole Dickie V. Though, in his defense, Donnie Jones is actually the name of a real coach (head basketball coach at UCF). So there is that. That name combination actually got me thinking, if you combined Jones’ recruiting acumen with Tyndall’s pure schematic knowledge, that coach may never lose a game.

Daniel: Too busy trying to find the “Kwanzo” Martin guy he referred to during the broadcast to answer those questions. Seriously though, I understand the national guys can’t know everything about every team, but at least know the head coaches and how to pronounce their names.

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