UPDATES WITH QUOTES FROM JAWUAN JAMES AND STATEMENT FROM TENNESSEE AD MIKE HAMILTON REGARDING TRANSFER STATUS OF MIDYEAR SIGNEES (2:15 P.M.) . . .
I finally got JaWuan James on the phone. He’s still in Knoxville as of Wednesday afternoon and still isn’t sure what he’s going to do. He may not have much of a choice.
“We’re not saying anything right now,” James said. “My mama’s on her way up here. Well, not today, but she’s coming. And I’ve got to talk to her about everything first.”
James’ mother just dropped him off in Knoxville on Sunday. James would not say if he had attended classes as scheduled Wednesday morning, which reportedly the could affect his eligibility in the case of a transfer.
“The AD [Mike Hamilton] has asked us not to say anything to anybody,” James said. “I want to respect that. Once everything is settled I’ll talk.”
I have requested interpretations from the NCAA and UT’s compliance department of the transfer rules regarding early enrollees such as James and whether class attendance affects their eligibility. I have yet to hear back.
However, at his press conference this afternoon in Knoxville, Hamilton said players such as James are already considered Tennessee student-athletes.
“As of 12:01 a.m. [Wednesday, the early enrollees] have matriculated to the University of Tennessee,” he said. Anybody who told them differently, Hamilton said, referring to a statements allegedly made by outgoing recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, “is operating without knowledge of the rules.”
The Vols had eight to 10 midyear signees, most of whom were already in Knoxville and moved into the dorms. If that is interpreted correctly, they will have to sit out a year if they transfer anywhere else.
Here’s what else we know regarding Tennessee’s recruiting in the wake of coach Lane Kiffin’s abrupt departure.
Westlake senior linebacker Michael Taylor confirmed to me this morning that he is officially “decommitted from Tennessee” and not committed anywhere else. “I’m open,” he said. Taylor refuted a report he had committed to Florida, where he had an official visit this past weekend.Taylor has offers from at least 17 other BCS schools, including Georgia and Georgia Tech. The weekend before last he was named the White Team’s MVP in the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg.