The state of Alabama (they have to share with Auburn) only has 13 players rated as 4 star or better per rivals. Tennessee on the other hand has 9 and they don't really have to share it. (a good coach can overcome Vandy pretty fast IMO)
Roughly half those (I counted five of 10, but I was looking at ESPN) come from Greater Memphis. Same with 2011 and 2010.
Problem for Tennessee is that Memphis is closer to at seven other SEC schools than Knoxville -- Bama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas and (edit to add) Vandy -- and Missouri is the same distannce.
So it's a city that's not particularly loyal to the Vols. Sure, Tennessee probably has the biggest SEC presence in Memphis, but Ole Miss is right there with it, MSU has its share and even Bama has its share. Heck Ole Miss is practically a Memphis Metro-area school.
So Tennessee recruiting Memphis is not akin to LSU recruiting New Orlans, Alabama recruiting Birmingham, Georgia recruiting Atlanta or Florida recruiting Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.
Given that, comparing the raw numbers between Alabama and Tennessee is only part of the picture. Alabama's name carries much more weight in Montgomery and Mobile than Tennessee's does in Memphis, I think.
Again, not that Tennessee lacks presence in Memphis. But I'd suggest Auburn still fights uphill to recruit Montgomery against Saban while Ole Miss and Bama probably feel like Memphis is a level playing field vs. Tennessee.
This post was edited on 12/6 at 1:28 pm