Let's imagine for a moment what the Memphis Tiger football team would look like if they would have kept more local talent home. The Tigers are in the closing stages of the 2013 recruiting class. We'll go back four years (A full senior class) starting in 2010 and continuing to the current recruiting year (2013).
I know back in 2010 Memphis had let go Tommy West and hired Larry Porter so keeping local talent was an extremely tall task but for the sake of argument we're just going to look at the 'what if' Memphis kept these kids home. The fall of Tommy West and the failure to support Larry Porter are articles for a different day.
In 2010 Memphis had 28 commitments , a good 9-10 of them were complete misses, didn't do anything at Memphis or never played a down for the Tigers (One of the many reason the Tigers have been in a funk and why they have scholarship numbers now). We'll highlight the good area signings and list the ones that we feel could have come to Memphis and make us think 'what if' they did. Some we will not list like 2010 OL Barrett Jones. Was there any doubt that he was going to go to Alabama? Here's what the 2010 class could have looked like-
2* QB- Bo Wallace, Committed to Ark St before transferring to a junior college and then to Ole Miss. Memphis offered Wallace and he wanted to commit but then Memphis rescinded their offer. Memphis went with Ryan Williams. Williams left Memphis for Miami. Wallace is closer to Middle Tennessee than the Memphis area but we're listing him since he wanted to commit to Memphis out of high school.
4* OL- O.C. Brown, Originally committed to So. Miss. He transferred to Austin Peay. Brown would have added depth to the offensive line that has been plagued with depth issues over the years.
2* OL Al Bond, Committed to Memphis
3* LB Ferlando Bohanna, Committed to Miss. St. Bohanna hasn't done much with the Bulldogs but would have been a starter at Memphis.
3* LB Fred Harvey, Committed to Memphis but is no longer on the team.
3* LB Jonathan Brown, Committed to Illinois. Brown is a stellar linebacker for Illinois. He could have gone to the NFL this year but chose to stay for his senior season.
3* LB Cortez Bowen, Committed to So. Miss
4* WR Keiwone Malone, Went to AL but did transfer back to Memphis.
3* RB Keith McBride, Committed to Navy
2* RB Sir Gregory Thornton, Committed to Ark St.
3* TE Quinton Alton, Committed to NC
3* DB Lonnie Ballentine, Committed to Memphis
2* DB Kyron Tucker, Committed to UT-Martin. I would have offered Kyron. I personally saw him at my combine in '10 and he had the speed and quickness you want in a DB. I would have put him at Safety rather than Corner.
3* DE Corey Jones, Committed to Memphis. Jones has done well for Memphis.
Now let's take a look at the 2011 class. The 2011 class Memphis had 29 commitments. The Tigers did a better job with this class. I would say they missed on 4 commits that either never played or panned out for them. Here's what the 2011 class could have looked like-
4* OL/TE Cameron Clear, Committed to Tennessee. We admit it would have been hard to land Clear but for this exercise we're looking at what if...
3* OL Ryan Mack, Committed to Louisville. Same as Clear, would have been hard to keep Mack but if they would had stayed...
3* DL Terry Redden, Committed to Memphis. Redden has continue to improve each year and could develop into an all-conference player.
3* DE Christian Coleman, committed to Kentucky.
2* WR Tray Becton-Martin, Committed to So. Miss. We saw Tray during the TNVarsity.com combines in '11 and was impressed. Memphis could have used him in the slot.
3* RB Artaves Gibson, Committed to Memphis. Gibson hasn't produced like we thought he would but he still provides depth at the position.
3* LB Charles Harris, Committed to Memphis. Harris is the Tigers best linebacker and could be one of the best linebackers Memphis has ever had by the time his playing career is over.
2* DB Kevin Green, Committed to Memphis. Green has since moved to linebacker to provide depth at that position.
Moving on to last year's 2012 class Memphis had 28 commitments and only 2 didn't make it to campus. There were 4 great running backs in Memphis this year in Kimbrow, Walton, Redmond and Robinson. We're going to say Memphis gets one of them.
Here's what the 2012 class could have looked like-
3* RB Jaylen Walton, Committed to Ole Miss. Memphis really could have used one of the great Memphis area running backs in his class.
3* ATH Sheldon Dawson, Committed to Georgia. Dawson was a Memphis commit until Larry Porter got fired.
3* QB William Gross, Committed to Memphis. Unfortunately for Memphis Gross didn't qualify and ended up at Alcorn St.
3* WR Nathan Cole, Committed to Cincy. Memphis has a good group of receivers but Cole would have bolstered this unit.
2* WR/S Eric Belew, Committed to TN Tech. Belew was commited to Memphis before Porter was fired. Memphis could have used Belew in the depleated secondary.
2* OL Cody Quon, Committed to Memphis. Provides depth. Redshirted last season.
2* DB Derrick Bobo, Committed to Memphis. Provides depth. Redshirted last season.
3* OL Latarius Brady, Committed to Memphis. Provides depth. Redshirted last season and was moved to Tight End
3* WR Daniel Hurd, Committed to Memphis. Hurd could have a breakout year this year.
3* OL Ben Still, Committed to Ole Miss. Memphis needs more depth on the line. Still could have provided that.
3* DE Carl Mitchell, Committed to Memphis. Mitchell will look to get some playing time this year. Pass rushing machine.
2* OL Hubert Mays, Committed to Memphis. Provides depth. Redshirted last season.
And now we'll take a look at what the 2013 class would look like if some of the Memphis area talent stayed home.
4* RB Mark Dodson Jr., Committed to Ole Miss. Memphis needs to build a better pipeline to Whitehaven.
3* TE Mack Weaver, Committed to Vandy. Weaver did consider Memphis before committing to Vandy.
3* DT Herbert Moore, Committed to Ole Miss. Moore is a beast. Would have been great to see a Moore/Redden led defensive line.
3* WR Latevius Rayford, Committed to Vandy. Rayford is a great receiver that would have challenged for a starting spot as a freshman.
3* DB Darrius Sims, Committed to Vandy. Sims would have been a much needed body to the secondary.
2* OL Vincent Hunter, Undecided. Teams have backed off of Hunter. Why? It's a mystery to us. Great kid, good grades, D1 body, isn't that what you want in a player? Memphis is still looking at him.
2* OL Alexander Karr, Committed to Ark St. Karr has been rumored to be switching to Memphis. It hasn't happened yet though.
2* K Thomas Farst, Committed to Memphis. Farst will challenge for the starting spot.
2* RB Anthony Young, Committed to Memphis.
3* RB Shane Tucker, Undecided. Nice running back that would provide depth and a pipeline to MUS.
3* LB Ford Howell, Committed to Wake Forrest.
2* LB Lenard Harden, Committed to Memphis.
2* OL Zach Collins, Committed to Memphis
Can you imagine if the Tigers had Bo Wallace throwing to Keiwone Malone, Nathan Cole and Marcus Rucker this year? What about an offensive line that had Jordan Devey with O.C. Brown and Ryan Mack and having a running back corps that included Jaylen Walton and Sheldon Dawson. Think about the linebackers that consisted of a starting unit of Charles Harris, Jonathan Brown and Akeem Davis. The secondary would have more depth than it has these past years.
So can Memphis win with Memphis area talent? Yes they can. If you have the kids we've listed above on the roster you have a pretty good team. One that would have contended for CUSA championships and one that would have been poised to do the same now that Memphis is entering into the Big East.