REVEALED: UT’s recruiting problem

Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer is known for skulduggery. After all, when he couldn’t land players, the first thing that crossed his mind was the other guys had to be cheating. (Often he was right, but that’s beside the point.)

Now Fulmer can’t land recruits because he tells players one thing, and when he gets them on campus does another. Don’t believe me? What about a top recruit? Don’ta Hightower told Rivals.com that UT was persistent in its recruiting efforts, but he wasn’t interested due in large part to Fulmer’s past dishonesty:

“After I committed, Vanderbilt was still trying to talk to me a little bit, but Tennessee was the worst about it. They kept calling and trying to come down but I didn’t talk to them. From the start I didn’t think Tennessee was the right place for me – they’ve been known to recruit you for one position and put you at another – so that’s partly what it was about.”

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This revelation that top recruits are shunning UT over Fulmer’s character should give more ammo to the Fire Fulmer crowd.

Fulmer’s on thin ice in Knoxville over a host of issues. Discipline was the latest bludgeoning device, but that is always cover for a failure to win. Nobody cares about discipline when you are winning SEC titles—and don’t deceive yourself, John Adams wouldn’t have called for Fulmer’s head in February if UT had upset LSU to win the conference crown.

While some UT fans remain passionate in their defense of Fulmer, I’ve spoken to several UT supporters who want Fulmer out. Knowledgeable UT fans are worried that the state’s limited supply of SEC caliber talent are finding their way to other teams. The Hightower revelation means it just got harder to recruit for Fulmer.

With a resurgent Alabama under Nick Saban, Urban Meyer leading Florida, and the best Georgia team in memory set to take the field in 2008—how long can Fulmer last?