University of Tennessee officials told the AJC on Friday that there’s no connection between 5-star WR Cordarrelle Patterson signing with the Volunteers last month and one of Patterson’s coaches recently joining Tennessee’s football staff.
Patterson played at Hutchinson (Kan.) junior college and was ranked as the No. 1 overall JC prospect in the nation. Up until the final hours before signing day, nearly every recruiting analyst was predicting for Patterson to sign with UGA.
Last week, the Tennessee Rivals website Volquest.com reported that Hutchinson assistant head coach Brandon Staley “will have an undisclosed role in the Tennessee football program.” It immediately sparked speculation, especially among Tennessee fans on this message board, that Staley was part of a delayed “package deal” involving Patterson.
We asked Tennessee for some clarification.
On Friday, Tennessee athletics spokesman Jimmy Stanton told the AJC that Staley is an ‘intern” within the football program and said that there was “no correlation between his hire and Patterson.”
We also contacted Cordarrelle Patterson about his coach going from junior college to Tennessee with him.
“It feels pretty good to have a coach over there that I already know,” Patterson told the AJC. “[Staley] coached me in junior college and it was a pretty good experience.”
Were the twosome a “package deal” to the Volunteers?
“No, I didn’t know anything about that,” Patterson said. “He [Staley] went … he did that a couple of days after I signed. I don’t even want to get into all of that.”
Now there were always rumors that Tennessee had inside position with the NFL-bound WR because his high school quarterback, Justin Worley, already plays for the Volunteers. What about that? “That wasn’t as big of a factor as everybody thought,” Patterson said. “But it is pretty nice to have a player and coach on the team already there that you’ve already bonded with.”
Patterson on why he picked Tennessee: “It just always felt like home for me. I felt that way deep down for a long time. When I went on my visits, all those other schools started jumping ahead of Tennessee. But when things winded down, I knew Tennessee was the best place for me.”
Patterson on which school was runner-up: “Shoot, I don’t know. You could put Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss in there together.”
Patterson on which non-Tennessee coach was the nicest: “The Ole Miss coach [Hugh Freeze] is a good guy. I wish I could’ve gotten to know him a lot more. He came in there at the end. I wish I could’ve gotten to know him like the Tennessee coaches.” Not the nicest? “Probably the KU coach, Charlie Weis. He was kind of mean. He was straight forward, yelling and screaming, and all this stuff. I didn’t have time for that.”
Back to the package deal issue: Tennessee was part of one of Georgia’s all-time most infamous “package deals.” In 2010, then-Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin started a two-for-one special finished by Derek Dooley that successfully poached Georgia’s No. 1 overall prospect, WR Da’Rick Rogers, who was a longtime UGA commitment. How did they do it? Tennessee also offered Da’Rick’s high school QB and best friend, Nash Nance.
UGA has also had success with “package deals,” including a couple from 2010: The Bulldogs secured their commitment with LB Alec Ogletree after offering a football scholarship to his twin brother. Also, on signing day in 2010, UGA abruptly offered and signed little-known Wilcox County WR Lonnie Outlaw, who was the cousin and best friend of QB-DB Nick Marshall, who signed with the Bulldogs last year (both Outlaw and Marshall are currently enrolled at junior colleges).
Last year, UGA made a surprise late offer to Isaiah Crowell’s best friend since kindergarten, Quintavious “Cootie” Harrow. At the time, Crowell’s mother said she was thrilled for Harrow, while adding the famous line, “I’m not selling my son’s soul to the devil.”
This year, Avery Young’s high school coach from Florida denied he was part of a UGA “package deal” gone wrong. Or part of any type of package deal involving the 5-star OL who broke UGA’s heart when he picked Auburn on signing day. A few weeks after signing day, Young’s high school was named the new football coach at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens. One of the references on his job application was UGA’s Mark Richt.
However, UGA did land its top OL target, 5-star John Theus, after signing his brother at long snapper the year before. What about Georgia Tech? There was speculation that 4-star basketball recruit Robert Carter was part of a “package deal” involving the son of his AAU coach, who transferred to play for the Yellow Jackets last summer.
What do we think about package deals? We love them. We’d do them all day long in exchange for 5-star recruits. Derek Dooley deserves harsh criticism. Not for the alleged package deal for Cordarrelle — because that was brilliant, if true. No, he should be criticized for not wheeling and dealing MORE. Tennessee has lost seven assistant coaches since the end of last season. Dooley had room and leverage to make some magic happen and land an army of 5-star recruits.
Like every year, we look forward to seeing plenty of more package deals this year, especially with how talented-loaded the state of Georgia is for 2013. We would not be surprised to see UGA or Auburn (or even Alabama) consider finding some departmental position for former Troup High School head coach Charles Flowers, who is a mentor to LB Reuben Foster, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect and committed to Alabama but still flirting with UGA and Auburn. Flowers was fired at Troup last month apparently over the improper transfer of a player to the school. Flowers, who is still very well-respected within the state, is considered be a “father figure” by Foster, who has vowed not to play at Troup next year without his coach.
The nation’s No. 1 overall football prospect, Grayson High School’s Robert Nkemdiche, has stopped short of calling himself a “package deal” with his best friend since the sixth grade, David Kamara. But it sure sounds like one. After Big Rob went public with his wishes a couple of weeks ago, Kamara got offers from Clemson, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. UGA may have missed out on gaining inside position on Nkemdiche by not signing his older brother last summer.
Switching over to basketball, we also would not be surprised to see UGA’s Mark Fox or Georgia Tech’s Brian Gregory take a close look at Miller Grove High School coach Sharman White, who has been courted by other colleges, including Memphis, in past years. White has impeccable credentials after leading Miller Grove to four straight state championships in basketball. He also happens to be the coach of the nation’s No. 21 overall prospect, power forward Tony Parker, who is uncommitted.
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IT’S NEVER BORING IN THE WACKY WORLD OF RECRUITING
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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