After the historic loss to Kentucky on Saturday, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley told reporters that the Volunteers had hit rock bottom but that “we’re going to begin our climb right now.”
Dooley now will be joined on that climb by Quenshaun Watson.
The Clarke Central High School running back privately committed to Tennessee last week and went public with it on Monday. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound Watson picked the Volunteers over Indiana, and also had serious interest from Arkansas.
Is this the beginning of a Clarke Central-to-Tennessee pipeline? Dooley grew up in Athens while his father Vince Dooley coached at UGA. The younger Dooley is a graduate of Clarke Central High School, which also sent a player last year to the Volunteers, offensive lineman Alan Posey.
Curiously, neither Watson nor Posey was recruited by UGA, which is located only a couple of miles from Clarke Central. The Bulldogs never showed much interest.
“Tennessee recruited Quenshaun the hardest,” Clarke Central coach Leroy Ryals told the AJC. “We’ve got another player there with Alan, and Quenshaun felt like he was around family by playing at Tennessee. They want him to play running back there.
“He has a lot of speed, and a great ability to maneuver in the open field. He has played for me since a freshman so he has a lot of experience playing for a good program. One thing impressive about Quenshaun is that he has learned over the years to be a very good running back.”
Watson is small but fast. He rushed for 1,765 yards as a senior, and is a track star. Watson told Rivals that he has been clocked at 10.58 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
Dooley is focusing hard on his recruiting efforts in Georgia. Six of Tennessee’s 2012 commitments are from Georgia, including Pebblebrook LB Khalid Henderson.
Under Dooley, Tennessee posted its first back-to-back losing seasons since 1910-11. Tennessee lost seven SEC games in a season for the first time ever.
“At some point, we had to hit a real low point with where this program is,” Dooley told the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s Austin Ward. “And I knew we were going to hit one, I did. I hoped we wouldn’t, but it’s inevitable. You’re going to hit a bottom … It’s on the whole organization, and we’re going to begin our climb right now.”
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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