SEC: Dexter Moody

Vols think Hood worth the gamble

May, 6, 2009
5/06/09
5:29
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

There's no sugarcoating it.

Tennessee's taking a huge chance by signing Daniel Hood, who as a 13-year-old kid was part of a despicable crime. He watched as an older friend of his raped Hood's 14-year-old cousin in Hood's bedroom. She testified that they both took part in tying her up with duct tape.

The graphic details of the rape make you sick when you read the 21-page court document from Hood's appeal of the case. He was tried as a juvenile and found to be delinquent on the basis that he had committed the adult offenses of kidnapping and aggravated rape.

 
  Amy Smotherman Burgess/Knoxville News Sentinel
  Daniel Hood signed on to play for the Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday.

Six years later, he's now a member of Tennessee's football team, signing with the Vols on Tuesday.

I had a chance to meet with Hood on Tuesday night and hit him with some tough questions. He didn't dodge any of them and repeated over and over again how blessed he was that so many people had gone to bat for him, including the rape victim.

Her letter on Hood's behalf was one of the key pieces of information for Tennessee officials as they debated whether or not to take Hood.

Extremely intelligent. Hood understands the microscope he will be under at Tennessee. He also understands how somebody could read that report and cry out, "How could anybody give a person involved in such a heinous crime a free ride to go to school and play football?"

His only request is that people give him an opportunity to prove who he's become and not who he was as a scared 13-year-old who froze six years ago.

Colleges wrestle with these decisions all the time. And let's be honest here. They don't take chances on marginal players who are undersized or deficient in some other area.

It just so happens that Hood projects to play a position that Tennessee is frighteningly thin at -- offensive tackle.

Some fans have suggested that Hood should have been required to walk on this first year and prove that he's worthy of a scholarship. The outpouring of people who've taught and coached him at Catholic High School in Knoxville said he's already proven that with his exemplary record there the last three years.

Still, this is a gamble by the Vols, and they had better be willing to suffer the consequences. They insist they are.

It's not the first time Tennessee has taken a chance on a player who's been in trouble prior to signing a scholarship. The Vols took Jason Respert under the previous coaching staff after Respert got into some trouble with a female on a recruiting trip to Florida.

Respert repaid the Vols by being a solid citizen, a solid player, and a leader on the team. He was never in trouble again.

Sometimes, these second chances don't work out as well.

Ole Miss signed defensive back Jamar Hornsby after Hornsby had been kicked off Florida's team for the fraudulent use of a dead Florida student's credit card. She just happened to be the girlfriend of Florida cornerback Joe Haden.

Tennessee also recruited Hornsby, who attended junior college last year. But not long after signing with Ole Miss, Hornsby was in trouble with the law again. He was arrested and charged with hitting somebody with brass knuckles in a fight at a McDonald's drive-thru. Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is waiting on the legal process to run its course before making a decision on Hornsby.

Georgia decided recently not to take a chance on Dexter Moody, a highly rated linebacker from Twin City, Ga. Moody signed with the Bulldogs, but was released from his scholarship after threatening a teacher at his high school.

Ironically, the Vols began to show interest in Moody following his release from Georgia and had him on campus for a visit. But the latest word from Tennessee officials is that they have elected not to offer Moody a scholarship.

After all, there will be enough scrutiny with Hood, who's anything but naïve about the situation.

"I won't even be able to jaywalk, and that's the way it should be," Hood said.

Former Georgia signee looking at Vols

April, 15, 2009
4/15/09
7:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

It looks like Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin may give former Georgia signee Dexter Moody a second chance.

Moody, who was released from his letter of intent by Georgia last month after getting into trouble at his high school, tells Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he plans to attend Saturday's Orange and White spring game along with his father and expects to receive a scholarship offer from the Vols.

Moody, who's from Twin City, Ga., has admitted to getting into an altercation with a male chemistry teacher at Emanuel County Institute. One report said Moody threatened the teacher. His coach at ECI, Milan Turner, said that Moody did not follow the plan Georgia laid out for him regarding his eligibility, schoolwork and behavior, prompting the Bulldogs to give him his unconditional release.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Moody was an ESPNU 150 selection and rated as the No. 10 outside linebacker prospect in the country.

The Vols are desperate for linebacker help. They just recently moved Rico McCoy back to weakside linebacker, and he's the only linebacker on Tennessee's roster who's started more than one game during his college career.

Altercation led to Moody's release from Georgia

March, 19, 2009
3/19/09
8:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

As previously reported by several media outlets, an open records request confirmed that linebacker signee Dexter Moody was released by Georgia because of an altercation at his high school.

Moody, a member of the ESPNU 150 team, told The Athens Banner-Herald earlier this week that he and a Chemistry teacher got into an argument.

Georgia coach Mark Richt gave Moody an unconditional release, meaning he's free to sign with any team he chooses. Moody was rated by Scouts Inc. as the 10th best outside linebacker prospect in the country.

Georgia cuts ties with one of its top signees

March, 16, 2009
3/16/09
8:57
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Georgia has released linebacker Dexter Moody from his scholarship after Moody said he ran into some trouble at his high school.

Moody, who's from Twin City, Ga., was a member of the ESPNU 150 team and is now free to sign with any team he chooses. Florida and LSU were also on his list when he signed with the Bulldogs. He was rated by Scouts Inc. as the 10th best outside linebacker prospect in the country.

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