Derek Dooley’s charm helps win over James Stone for UT

Three weeks ago, Tennessee’s chances of signing Maplewood lineman James Stone appeared slim.

But once Derek Dooley was hired to replace Lane Kiffin, the Volunteers’ stock soared quickly.

Stone picked Tennessee over Alabama, the national champion, on Wednesday as ESPNU televised the proceedings from a crowded lecture hall at Maplewood.

“Tennessee didn’t seem like a place where I would feel comfortable (under Kiffin), but now I feel like I will be comfortable with the leadership and I’ll be able to really grow as a person,” Stone said. “(Dooley’s staff) seems more down to earth, more genuine people.