|Fulmer adds new blood to Vols’ staff |
| Arachnophobia |
Tennessee football fans who may suffer from arachnophobia — an extreme fear of spiders — should not be alarmed by the addition of two Spiders from the University of Richmond. The two new offensive staffers — coordinator Dave Clawson and wide receivers coach Latrell Scott — are coming to Knoxville to attempt to re-energize an offense that has seen only a few cosmetic changes since the days of former coach Johnny Majors. Clawson and Scott hope to weave some fresh, new webs at Tennessee, installing plans that will snare plenty of points against SEC defenses next fall.
Along with Clawson and Scott, head coach Phil Fulmer has also raided the staff of the Florida Gators to grab ace recruiter Stan Drayton, who will teach and lead the running backs for the Volunteers.
The average age of the three new Volunteer coaches is 35.6 years. Clawson is 40, Drayton is 36 and Scott is the youngest at 31. Like Drayton, Scott is advertised to be a dynamite recruiter. Clawson called Scott the best recruiter he had on the Richmond staff.
There is still one more position to fill in order to complete the re-modeling job on offense. It is not known now if Fulmer will hire a coach to assist the only holdover, Greg Adkins, with the offensive line or if the Vol head man will look for a guy who might be able to shore up the staff as a recruiting coordinator. One thing is for certain already, the new guys are energetic, ambitious and a refreshing blast of wind on a staff that needed an infusion of bright, young talent and original ideas.
Clawson, who has twice been named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year, turned around two dormant programs, first at Fordham and then at Richmond. In 2005, the Richmond Touchdown Club named him NCAA Coach of the Year in Virginia over the likes of Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and Al Groh at The University of Virginia. In 14 seasons of running college offenses, Clawson’s quarterback has been named first-team all-conference or better, nine times.
While holding the title of offensive coordinator at Villanova University in 1996 and 1997, the Wildcats offense established 70 new school records and made the Division II playoffs both seasons. While at Nova, one of Clawson’s position coaches was Drayton, who now reunites with him 10 years later in Knoxville. Together, Clawson and Drayton helped guide the first two players ever from the school — wide receiver Brian Finneran and running back Brian Westbrook — toward careers in the National Football League.
Stan Drayton comes to Rocky Top following three seasons on the staff at Florida. He has also coached at Mississippi State and worked three years in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers as an assistant special team’s coach and in the area of offensive quality control. Last year, Rivals.com named Drayton as one of the top 25 recruiters in the nation. He hails from Cleveland, Ohio and should help Tennessee launch a return to the fertile recruiting territory in the Buckeye state.
In Latrell Scott, Tennessee gets another assistant with a terrific work ethic and glowing reputation in the area of recruiting. Scott has been with Clawson at Richmond for three seasons. He is from the state of Virginia and has excellent contacts at both Virginia Military and Fork Union Military academies. Scott spent time as an assistant in his early 20s at both those highly regarded prep schools.
Hitting the ground running
Word is that the recruiters went to work right away. This past weekend Tennessee had at least seven prospects that were scheduled to visit the campus. Two of those youngsters — defensive tackles Stacey McGee (6-3, 276) from Muskogee, Okla., and Lavunce Askew (6-2, 282) from Camden, Ark. — play a position where the Big Orange needs help and plenty of it. McGee has received a four-star rating from Scout.com as have two other players who were slated to be in town Saturday and Sunday. Andre Wadley (6-3, 269) from Hernando, Miss., and Absecon, N.J., linebacker Marcus Witherspoon (6-2, 215, 4.6) would both be welcome additions to the Volunteer defense in future years. Dallas Thomas, a 6-5, 280-pound offensive tackle who hails from Baton Rouge, was also on the guest list for the weekend.
Hoopin’ it up
Tennessee’s men’s and women’s basketball teams throttled two squads from South Carolina over the weekend by a combined total of 47 points. Both top 10 squads seem to be hitting their collective strides, but there are some big games coming up in the near future. Statewide and in the national media, the big buzz is about the Volunteers impending trip to face the Memphis Tigers in the Bluff City later this month.