I'm as loyal as they come to the University of Tennessee. I came home from the hospital in a UT Onesey and Graduated from the hill in 2009. Honestly this is MALARKEY. I don't know how anyone could question Gerald Jones' dedication to the program after all he did on the field and leadership that he provided to a stumbling program through three head coaches and ultimately 4 football schemes in his playing time. As for Trooper Taylor unethical is not worthy in this case. There are things that happen in recruiting every year all over the country that are far worse than being resourceful. Trooper is a great football coach and as he has shown a more than capable recruiter. His on the field emotion and aggressiveness transpire into every player he coaches and that is something not everybody can has the ability to bring to a program. As for dogging Trooper guys come on look at what he did when he was in Knoxville we pounded the football and pounded out some running backs that is SEC Football and if you want to call somebody unethical talk about Ed Orgeron. The man wrote a book called "Meat Market". Personally with the staff we have in Knoxville now and the man (Derrick Dooley) working to keep it classy by monitoring his program, I think Trooper's emotion and coaching style is the missing element for this young team. Bring him back!!! GO BIG ORANGE!!!!
There are some angry folks in the foothills of the Smokies today. Word has gotten out in East Tennessee that Auburn receivers coach Trooper Taylor might have used at least one former Tennessee player to help him recruit defensive tackle prospect Gabe Wright to The Plains.
On signing day, Wright chose Auburn over Tennessee in a tight recruiting battle. The player said his decision basically came down to a coin flip. But perhaps he put that coin into a pay phone and contacted a former Vol for advice.
Taylor — one of Rivals.com’ 25 best recruiters in the nation this year — served at Tennessee under Phillip Fulmer so he would have connections to a few Vol seniors who were holdovers from his days in Knoxville. Former Vol receiver Gerald Jones would be one of those holdovers. His name quickly came up in the Taylor-Wright rumors. Today, he told the Rivals site VolQuest.com that he did talk to a recruit, but that he said only good things about Tennessee.
“I got a call a week or so ago from a kid,” Jones said. “I don’t know who gave him my number but I didn’t talk down about anyone. I actually gave several positives about Tennessee, like Coach (Charlie) Baggett. I just told the truth about what I know about Tennessee and Troop. At the end of the day that kid made the decision (that) was best for him. Anyone that wants to criticize me about a rumor needs to look themselves in the mirror. I know what I said and it was all positive.”
Jones also appeared on WNOX-FM in Knoxville today:
“I just found out that he had made the decision to (go to) Auburn, wasn’t aware of it, and (Wednesday) I heard that (and) it sounds like I persuaded him to go there. Let me get this clear right now — I didn’t. I actually despise people who try to persuade these kids to try to go to certain places.”
He also said that he didn’t “have anything negative to say about Tennessee. … I would say when we got off the phone I hadn’t helped him at all, because I said a lot of good stuff about Auburn and a lot of good stuff about Tennessee — no negative because I don’t have any animosity to either school. … The positive stuff I said about Auburn is very limited, it’s stating the obvious. More than anything I told him about Troop, that he’s a good guy, a loyal guy, and he’s going to shoot you straight. Just as I will.”
Jones played his final game for Tennessee in December’s Music City Bowl. Many UT fans are wondering just how the recruit (Wright) got the phone number for a former Vol receiver (Jones) and why he would call him out of the blue… if Taylor hadn’t served as the go-between.
If Taylor did use Jones to help him recruit Wright it is not likely a violation of any NCAA rule. Now, would it be unethical? Well, that’s another question. And you’ll likely get two completely different answers from Tiger fans and Vol fans.
Wright was a four-star defensive tackle from Columbus, Georgia.