Where we stand one week after Kiffin 

January, 19, 2010

In the week since Lane Kiffin's decision to leave Tennessee for USC, there's been a chaotic scene outside the UT football offices. There also have been some nasty personal rumors about the head coach and the Vols' subsequent frenetic coaching search that, depending on whom you listen to, went from Will Muschamp to David Cutcliffe to Troy Calhoun to Kyle Whittingham to -- well, does it really matter at this point? It was college football's three-day soap opera. Former Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, son of UGA legend Vince Dooley, landed the job. Despite sporting a 17-20 record that didn't sit well with some, Dooley seems to be doing -- and almost as importantly in the aftermath of the Kiffin era -- saying all the right things.

So I figured it was a decent time to check back in with the Vols to see where things stand one week later.

By all accounts, Kiffin's staff was headed toward assembling a top-five recruiting class for next season before the shake-up. (That's a good thing, because the Vols will play Oregon in September.) Keeping that group intact as well as leveraging the momentum needed to finish the deal sounded pretty dicey for UT. There were a host of midyear enrollees hanging in the balance, not to mention a splashy array of blue-chippers almost in the proverbial boat. Of course, the sharks would be circling. Reportedly, UT had 22 commitments before the Kiffin bombshell. No doubt the news had a big impact on some.

Brandon Willis, the nation's No. 110th-ranked recruit and 10th-ranked defensive tackle, literally turned around from South Carolina and drove up to North Carolina instead and will now play for the Tar Heels.