Tennessee’s Derek Dooley parts ways with 2 more Georgia football recruits (UPDATED)

  • UPDATE: Keithon Redding, a WR from Columbia High School, de-committed from Tennessee on Monday morning. See bottom of this blog for more information

Linebacker Khalid Henderson de-committed from Tennessee on Sunday night after saying he was encouraged to look at other schools by Volunteers coach Derek Dooley.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder from Pebblebrook High School had been committed to Tennessee since last summer. Everything was going smooth until about a week after he took his official visit with the Volunteers on Dec. 2. Henderson said he got a call from Dooley.

Derek Dooley has parted way with two Georgia recruits within the last month (AP photo)

Derek Dooley has parted way with two Georgia recruits within the last month (AP photo)

“Coach Dooley said there is a ‘possibility’ you might not be coming to Tennessee,” Henderson told the AJC. “He said you have two options: ‘You can stay committed to us, wait it out and see what other players do. Or you can de-commit and try to get some attention from other schools but that doesn’t mean you can’t come to Tennessee’ or whatever. He was very iffy about everything. He wouldn’t say anything concrete. He kept on using that word ‘possibility.’”

“I thought it was a bunch of crap. I guess if Tennessee is out there looking for other linebackers, then I can go find another place to go. Tennessee is where I wanted to go, and that’s where I’ve been loyal to ever since June. But it is what it is.”

Henderson is the third Georgia player to part ways with Tennessee within the last month. North Hall running back Imani Cross, who was the first commitment for Tennessee’s 2012 recruiting class, backed off the Volunteers after being committed for nearly a year because he said he was told by Dooley, “They hired a new RB coach from South Carolina and don’t know if he’s a Scat guy or Spread guy, so they were re-evaluating backs and that Imani should look around at other schools.” To read more, go here.

Columbia WR Keithon Redding de-committed from Tennessee on Monday (see bottom of the blog for details).

  • Last Friday, Tennessee freshman wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett went public with his complaints about Dooley’s restrictions on him transferring to Michigan or Michigan State to be near his ailing father. Dooley has insisted that Arnett (who is from Michigan) play at a MAC school instead. You can read all about it here.

Ex-Tennessee LB Khalid Henderson said he thought he was a "Vol for Life" until hearing from Dooley a few weeks ago (Photo courtesy of Rusty Mansell/247Sports)

Ex-Tennessee LB Khalid Henderson said he thought he was a "Vol for Life" until hearing from Dooley a few weeks ago (Photo courtesy of Rusty Mansell/247Sports)

Back to Henderson: What went wrong with Tennessee? “Coach Dooley said he was worried about my weight. I’m at 205 pounds now and climbing, but I weighed in at 192 during my visit. The other coaches thought I was OK, but [Dooley] kept saying he wanted he wanted someone bigger. He said ‘I don’t want to have you in a situation where you come up here and not get any reps because another guy is bigger.’ That’s exactly what came out of his mouth.

“I really don’t know what he was trying to say. I feel like maybe he was trying to come up with a reason to run me off like they did with Imani. He was the first commitment for our recruiting class.”

After talking with Dooley, Henderson huddled with his family and friends over the holidays and decided to de-commit. “It’s too close to signing day to be having conversations about ‘possibilities.’ I need to see if I can get some attention from other schools. Maybe somebody else out there big-time or in the SEC wants me, and I can be a big asset to their program.”

Henderson said he will begin contacting colleges this week, but that he already has a scholarship offer from Ole Miss and heavy interest from UGA.

What about UGA? “The same day that I got off the phone with Coach Dooley when he was talking about the whole ‘possibility’ thing, I called the linebackers coach at Georgia, [Kirk Olivadotti]. Coach O picked up and said ‘Hey, I’m glad to hear from you because I was just talking about you to the other coaches. When we get back from the Outback Bowl, we’re going to start recruiting full force.’ Coach O said ‘I’m going to keep in touch with you and we’re going to talk about maybe setting up an official visit.’”

Henderson said he reached out to Olivadotti again on Saturday. “I feel good about something happening at Georgia. They only have one commitment at linebacker. Coach O said they like me because I’m a versatile and athletic linebacker.”

WR Keithon Redding (AJC)

WR Keithon Redding (AJC)

UPDATE: Keithon Redding, a WR from Columbia High School, de-committed from Tennessee on Monday after being pledged to the Volunteers since last summer. Redding said his decision was connected to longtime Tennessee WRs coach Charlie Baggett leaving the SEC program last month. “My relationship was with Coach Baggett, and I never really heard from Tennessee after he left,” Redding told the AJC. “I did talk one time to another assistant coach [Darin Hinshaw]. He said they needed some wide receivers from junior college to come in and make an impact. I just didn’t have a good feeling about the situation anymore. I talked with my family and my coaches, and their advice was to go somewhere where I could play, and where I wouldn’t have to redshirt or grayshirt.” Added Columbia coach Mario Allen, “Coach Baggett did a real good job of recruiting Keithon, and he was one of the main reasons that Keithon fell in love with Tennessee. Coach Baggett had a father-figure role and was good influence on Keithon. They had a great relationship. When Coach Baggett left, I think it took Tennessee a while to let Keithon know exactly what was going on, so he decided to open things back up.” Redding said he has an official visit scheduled for Ole Miss on Jan. 20, and is also working on setting up trips to Mississippi State and Kentucky.

  • RELATED: Good news for UGA with another top RB? Click here

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

Please Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC + Please be my Facebook friend here

174 comments Add your comment

West Coast Dawg

January 2nd, 2012
1:05 am

First! Better yet, let’s move on this guy…

chris

January 2nd, 2012
1:12 am

Beginning of the end for Dooley…

5150 UOAD

January 2nd, 2012
1:21 am

5150 UOAD

January 2nd, 2012
1:22 am

Would like either to consider TECH. Cross as a runner and Henderson at LB

track dawg

January 2nd, 2012
1:33 am

Must be tough being a Tennesse fan. I guess you all can sing the rocky flop song. Ha!
Hey why don’t you check them dawgs out we are in a bowl game.

Bgdawg

January 2nd, 2012
1:35 am

Wow dooley may be worse than saban at treating his recruits like trash.. I mean listen to some of his explanations! he is turning into a real scum bag

RED DOG 77

January 2nd, 2012
1:37 am

Derek Dooley looks like he needs to go back to practicing law…………..On the other hand, it would take quite a fool to hire him……………What a joke!

Coach Sebastian Moore

January 2nd, 2012
1:41 am

I’m a strength guy and I gotta say, I never believed in that crap about a kid not being able to put weight on. Physiology says if you meet the protocol for mass and you consume enough calories you will gain weight. Never seen it fail.
Hey coach Dooley, why have a strength program if you are resinding offers for a good player being light?
If I’m the Head strength coach at UT that kid comes in at 190 and is 6′2 225 by the end of his freshmen year I guarentee! I couldnt be better than the UT S&C staff can I?
C’mon Coach Dooley, you’re better than that….

RED DOG 77

January 2nd, 2012
1:41 am

I’m sure I’ll regret this……………..But I do sincerily feel sorry for Tennesse, what a bummer!

Bad Dawg

January 2nd, 2012
1:42 am

5150, I agree that some of these guys should at least be considering Tech. I am a dawg fan but I don’t hate Tech. I would rather see these young men stay in state but the allure of leaving the state and playing in SEC is hard to deny. Wish the young men the best in making his decision. Also I think this will be Dooley’s last year at Tennessee unless they go undefeated. He is seeming more and more like a transition coach to get them past the NCAA violations.

WnE

January 2nd, 2012
1:49 am

Without Ga. HS Recruits Tenn. FB is on par Kentucky or Vandy, by doing this to 2 BCS Caliber Recruits in such a very short time, Dooley is hurting his chances of succeeding and setting back the Vol program for YEARS to come.

If he were “smart” ala Saban or some of the other HCs from SECw teams, then he would run off “dead-weight” Recruits like Nash Nance that will never see the field.

This Recruit is 6-2 205 and hasn’t graduated from HS yet, he could very well show up at 220lbs. and then RS and play at 230lbs as a RS-Fr. at OLB which is about the right size for a 4-3 OLB.

Keep doing this UT and you’ll only be making life for CMR than much easier.

Not to mention making life easier for USCe, Kentucky, and Vandy that also recruit Ga. HS FB players very heavily.

Whatever short-term benefit UT gets from this it will pale in comparison to the long-term damage that it will do to UT FB.

Once the word gets out among HS Coaches & recruits, then UT won’t be able to touch Top-50/Top-100 recruits in this state.

Bean Counter

January 2nd, 2012
1:57 am

This is no way to treat a high school player. You give them an early offer and pack their head about how bad you want them and then one month before signing you make up an excuse to cut them loose. Something needs to be done to those schools that over recruit. They know going into thee season how many spots are open for scholarship. If a school thinks enough of a player to offer him a scholarship, they should be made to follow through with their offer.

P. Bull Terrier

January 2nd, 2012
1:59 am

“Wow dooley may be worse than saban at treating his recruits like trash.. I mean listen to some of his explanations! he is turning into a real scum bag”

At least Saban has won something. As long as Alabama stays successful, Saban will have players lining up to be used and abused. Dooley has it backwards. It’s hard to figure out what he’s thinking, but it looks like there are more problems on Rocky Top than there were during the Kiffin era. (Can one season be called an era?)

Douche Bag Dooley

January 2nd, 2012
2:11 am

Make a commitment a year in advance to Tennessee kids, and I’ll screw you over a month or two before signing day!

Come across the country to come play for us, but if your parents get sick, I’ll make sure I screw you out of getting to play at any school where you actually would have a shot at getting drafted.

Oh, btw, do you like my orange pants?

Douche Bag Dooley

January 2nd, 2012
2:13 am

Commit to UT for over a year, kids, and I’ll make sure I screw you over a month or two before signing day!

Come play for me from across the country, but when your parents get sick, I’ll make sure to screw you over too and not let you play at any major school!

Dooley

January 2nd, 2012
2:14 am

Hi, my name is Douche Bag Dooley!

Commit to UT for over a year, kids, and I’ll make sure I screw you over a month or two before signing day!

Come play for me from across the country, but when your parents get sick, I’ll make sure to screw you over too and not let you play at any major school!

[...] BREAKING NEWS: Tennessee’s Derek Dooley parts ways with another Georgia recruit (click here) [...]

Columbus

January 2nd, 2012
3:20 am

From Kiffin to Dooley. Tenn is STILL in that downward spiral since Cutcliffe left. He was the only reason Tenn did anything in the last 20 years…..

Columbus

January 2nd, 2012
3:23 am

Tenn just really hurt their future recruiting in GA and that will put a serious hurting on them being good for a LOOOOOOOONG TIME! What will they do without GA recruits as someone else mentioned?

It is great to be a Dawg! Suuuuuucks to be a VOL! Sucks to be a Gator too!

Crimson Crush

January 2nd, 2012
4:53 am

P. Bull Terrier the only thing getting “used and abused by Saban” are rival staffs on the recruiting trail . The entire idea that kids who get recruited by Saban are too stupid to realize how they have been treated is beyond silly .

Even sillier are the whiney a** fans from other teams who have never spoken one word to Saban or 99 % of the time never even seen one of his recruited players at distances shorter than 100 yards away who think they know more about how players are treated by him than the players themselves do .

That part was just getting something off my chest . The real reason I am replying is to say that I actually do agree with you that Dooley has it backwards . He should take what he can get until he can get better . It is not like these two kids are complete scrubs . Bama during its probabtion period picked up kids here and there who weren’t highly rated or the “right size” who played their hearts out and still made it to the NFL (Demeco Ryan and even Javier Arenas who came in under Shula being two examples ) .

The bad will Dooley is generating is needless considering the fact that he may NEVER get anyone better to replace them if things don’t turn around yesterday at Tutorsee .

LakeDawg

January 2nd, 2012
6:32 am

At least Saban lets you stay on scholly for one year before he gets rid of you for a better player.

Paddy

January 2nd, 2012
7:13 am

It is a very small fraternity (high school football coaches). Word of this kind of treatment is already spreading fast thruout Georgia. Once you find out a man’s handshake it not worthy, you never cross his path again. Mr Dooley had better start recruiting in the Midwest or Northeast for awhile. He is about to become toast in Georgia!

smartdawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:19 am

kid was no teven ranked on ‘cruiting sites at beginning of the year. Sounds like TN jumped the gun and now has other needs. At least they told him before signing day.

OldSchoolTechFanatic

January 2nd, 2012
7:32 am

Looks like Dooley is trying to loose his Georgia connection ???

Barbara Dooley

January 2nd, 2012
7:59 am

I did not raise my boy recruit this way… Even I do not have anything more I can say to defend him – and you know that is unusual for me! Back to the Red and Black for me.

footballfan365

January 2nd, 2012
8:02 am

This is exactly why cmr wont throw offers out to any and every player who has a nice highlight tape. This is a bad move by tenn once your reputation is ruined there is no way to fix it. For those that are quick to call for cmr to be fired how would you feel if the next guy in line does this type of crap and puts uga in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons?

Brown Dog

January 2nd, 2012
8:03 am

The evil Saban even has the vocal chords removed from all those kids and families he abuses, which explains how in his time at Alabama, almost no one complains about him. Stalinesque if you ask me.

dap01

January 2nd, 2012
8:06 am

Don’t worry, even if Saban steps over you while you are having a heat stroke, I am sure that someone will get you help.

Then you will be cut the next year due to oversigning. But don’t worry.

jeffrey d

January 2nd, 2012
8:09 am

I did not raise my boy recruit this way

I don’t think Derek Dooley’s a recruit

Mr. SEC

January 2nd, 2012
8:16 am

Dooley and Saban are cousins! Didn’t like their dads, don’t like the dads sons! They didn’t learn to have dignity in dealing with people in general. Another perfect example of committing to soon! High school coaches need to step up and do a better job with their players when talking about committing! Some coaches will do anything to keep kids from other teams, knowing all along they are looking for better players. You then become scout material for 4 years. At Tenn. and Ala.you can red shirt or gray shirt and be scout material for 5 years, what a great college legacy to leave behind!

Ryno

January 2nd, 2012
8:20 am

Dooley is in a bad spot. He needs to win this year or else. If he thinks he’s got better players close to committing, he has to take them and let others go. This kid, I hate it for him, but if he was worthy to be offered by Tennessee, he’ll get other good offers and has plenty of time to find a spot.
It’s ugly, but all, that’s right, all, coaches have done it.

Muffin

January 2nd, 2012
8:25 am

Henderson would be a great pickup for CPJ and an already loaded, tallented 2012 class.

Mark my word. I haven’t lied to you yet.

2012.

Beware of “The Swarm”.

Fear the STING.

Marco Esquandolas

January 2nd, 2012
8:25 am

Isn’t this a dead period for recruiting?

St. Richt

January 2nd, 2012
8:26 am

It’s called being up front with recruits, in the end it’s what is best for the kid if the coach doesn’t think it will work. Happens all the time,even with your beloved Richt. At least Dooley isn’t pimping God to get recruits, Richt learned that from good ole Bowden.

Just Saying

January 2nd, 2012
8:35 am

Two things come to mind; 1) Dooley is either getting better prospects thus took commitments from lesser talents initially and now has better prospects, 2) he was the recruiting coordinator for Saban at LSU, hence he learned from the Master.

I wonder when some of these reporters will “MAN UP” and look into Saban’s practices. Dooley decides to drop a prospect it’s news, Saban does it and reporters are silent. Saban non-renews scholarships, signs 25-28 annually and there is silence from the AJC and others. Where are the stories on Saban????????

And since it’s January, the height of recruiting season, can a hit piece from the AJC on Georgia football be coming soon?????? Seems it’s an annual tradition by the AJC.

Southy706

January 2nd, 2012
8:37 am

That is messed up what Dooley did I hope that Coach O and Mark Richt give this guy a scholly because at Georgia they honor their Word.

booger

January 2nd, 2012
8:39 am

Tampon Gator needs to return to “bytes” blog on Palm Beach Post .
canesrule 21ships eats him/her alive.

Dupree

January 2nd, 2012
9:20 am

I have kid that is a solid 2014 prospect and took him to the Rising Senior game. Almost every kid that listed offers had an offer from Tennessee. While no more than 8 had offers from UGA. I personally no a kid that has 1 offer; Tennessee. They just offer everyone and beat the big boys to the punch so that they can say that they were the first to offer. I can honestly say that matters to these kids.

Paddy

January 2nd, 2012
9:21 am

St. Richt……CMR lives his faith and has to answer to no man. To ridicule him for his faith is narrow-minded and in very poor taste. If you don’t like CMR. that is fine with me. But to say he is insincere and uses his religion unapproprialty shows a lack of class on your part.

Don Draper

January 2nd, 2012
9:23 am

This, along with the I. Cross situation, are perect examples of the recklessness of the spray and pray offer techniques deployed by some programs. UGA catches all sorts of grief on these blogs by the ill-informed who are alway frustrated by UGA’s deliberate approach to offering kids. In stead of seeing whether the kid continued to develop physically (grow into his frame) before making an offer, UT went ahead and pulled the trigger and are know having to walk it back. The I. Cross situation is a little more defensible, given the position coach changes, but the circumstance with Henderson is all about a school just crop dusting offers in an irresponsonsible way.
For all of the criticisms lobbed at CMR, he has always tried to avoid these very situations, even if it means losing out on some players who get their noses out of joint if they don’t get the UGA offer early.

Stephenson Supporter

January 2nd, 2012
9:31 am

The coaches at Stephenson told you about this first. Put these schools on a ban for a year or two and they will stop treating our kids like this.

concern

January 2nd, 2012
9:33 am

Best to play for the home school if you can particularly if the coach is a decent person. Several coaches in SEC that a Mom/Dad would not want thier son to play for. Its been reported that Saban said that only he knew who was on scholarship, meaning sent packing when better players comes along. Recruits need to look past what the coach promises.

[...] AJC article on Dooley recruiting Tennessee’s Derek Dooley parts ways with another Georgia football recruit | AJC College Sports… [...]

concern

January 2nd, 2012
9:37 am

Is it true Saban stepped over on of his ailing players at Miami in hast to prepare for press conference? Have hear that but not sure if true.

jtylerblue

January 2nd, 2012
9:43 am

We’re really working on getting Richie Brown from MS, and a source from inside the AD says that we’ve got a legit chance. That’s why I think we let Henderson go. I’ve never been overly impressed with his film. Also, we really need to make room for other recruits. Quinshad Davis, Davante Bouruqe, Richie Brown, Matt Cochran and Daniel McCullers come to mind.

dustin

January 2nd, 2012
9:46 am

it is starting to get crappy around here.I live in TN and pretty much in knoxville.I love my VOLS, but alot of VOL fans don’t believe in this guy.He thinks he is Coach Saban the way he does his business. and Me i personally think he SUCKS as a COACH.Look What Louisiana Tech has done since he has left.If he doesn’t win at least 9 games next year with a very favorable schedule compared to last year then I believe he is gone.Don’t believe what your reading about the Arnett situation, bottom line is he doesn’t want to play w/o Coach Charlie Baggett. That was a crappy thing that Dooley did, but Arnett is using his dad as a crutch to try and use to get out of here.His dad has been sick for many years but Dooley should let him go to anyone not in the SEC or on our Schedule.

jtylerblue

January 2nd, 2012
9:47 am

Dustin, there is no way Dooley is gone unless there is a major meltdown next year.

Luvtheorange

January 2nd, 2012
9:53 am

Kids change their minds often at the last minute and it is ok. Coach changes his mind and that is a bad thing?

dustin

January 2nd, 2012
9:58 am

jtylerblue yes there is. there have been many boosters come to Mike Hart and offered to stroke a check for his buyout and run his butt off. so yes unless he makes significant strides this year his @$$ is gone!You don’t lose to KY @ UT, EVER and he did. he hasn’t done anything here except let the inmates run the asylum. case and point D.Rogers to Coach Baggett.
I’ll admit i don’t like what happend to Henderson but to luvtheorange’s point, kids do it to universities all of the time,just like the two JUCO”s that were committed to UT, and on JUCO signing day they went else where. at least doody’ let this kid know with enough time to find other places!

Muffin

January 2nd, 2012
9:59 am

Dooley fell into a viper pit at UT.
After Kiffen left the team for dead his was an uphill battle.

And to think many wanted him at ugag…. Too bad he didn’t have a 8 year run with the pups…
You know, a .500 record over that amount of time before he would have been FINALLY let go.