In short span, UT’s Derek Dooley proves he can recruit

When Derek Dooley was hired as Tennessee’s new football coach, he hit the ground running.

That was a good idea because he had some ground to make up. Considering the competition, it was like giving Usain Bolt a head start in the 100 meters.

Getting hired less than three weeks before national signing day is far from ideal.

First, you put out fires. Next, you piece together the skeleton of a coaching staff. Finally, you recruit like you job depends on it — because it does.

What Dooley has been able to do in less than two weeks is impressive. While everybody else was prepared to write off this recruiting class because of Lane Kiffin’s abrupt exit, Dooley got down to work. I guess he doesn’t believe in lost causes.

Even with expatriate Vol recruiter Ed Orgeron calling players and advising them not to attend classes, eight mid-term arrivals are enrolled at UT and will be available for spring practice.