Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss Tennessee coach Butch Jones’ comments about recruiting.
Butch Jones’ response
Tennessee has had a rocky past few days on the recruiting trail. The Vols haven’t looked good this season on the field. At least the coaching staff can point to the best recruiting class in the SEC for the 2018 cycle as a positive for the program.
Some recruits have started to waver on their commitments, but nobody has publicly de-committed — yet.
Coach Butch Jones was asked about what he is telling recruits amid rumors that his job is on the line.
“I think it stems from relationships,” Jones said. “That’s all part of it. We live in a week-to-week society, and you build relationships with these young men and their families. They’ve been here a lot on campus. They know what we’re about as players and coaches. They know what we’re about as people, and they know our players exceptionally well and they know the program.
“The recruits know where we’re headed and what we’ve been able to do.”
Jones has demonstrated in his five-year tenure at Tennessee that he is excellent at building relationships with prospects. Even when times haven’t looked the best, or there was a tough loss, fans always could point to the class coming in the next season.
Recruiting has been Jones’ saving grace with the Vols.
What if the recruiting class begins to fall apart, though?
Commits Jatavious Harris and Brendon Harris have already announced via Twitter they have opened up their recruitment to other schools.
Jatavious Harris, a wide receiver from Milledgeville, Ga., has played a big role in peer-recruiting some of the commits in the class. Namely, cornerback Jaycee Horn. A Harris departure could cost Tennessee some prospects in Georgia.
Brendon Harris plays safety for Baylor High School in Chattanooga, Tenn. He committed to the Vols in May, and told SEC Country in August he was happily committed and not listening to other schools. He’s now listening, and Clemson poses a real threat to flip Harris.
The biggest potential loss in the class, though, would be Cade Mays, who is rumored to be opening his recruitment. He has not officially said anything, but he has removed all Tennessee references from his bio on Twitter.
Losing Mays would be a massive blow to the recruiting class. He grew up a Tennessee fan and has been committed for more than two years. His father, Kevin, played for the Vols. He also helped recruit other in-state commits.
When the leader of the class begins to look elsewhere, it might be tough to keep everyone else in line.
Sticking with the Vols
Commits have taken to Twitter to reaffirm their commitments to the Vols. The count is up to 10 commits having tweeted out their intentions to stick with the Vols.
A couple of those posts have been encouraging for the Tennessee coaching staff. They show that things might not be as bad as initially thought.
Horn affirmed his commitment over Twitter. That was a bit of a surprise to me, and a positive development for the Vols.
— JUNGLE BOY 🦍 (@jayceehorn_10) October 2, 2017
Horn might not be as tied to Jatavious Harris as previously thought. When he originally committed, he said his recruitment was still open and would take visits to other schools. He received an offer from Clemson earlier this week. For him to stay solid in his commitment is a win for the Vols.
Defensive end Greg Emerson also reaffirmed his commitment.
VOL for life🍊🍊🍊 pic.twitter.com/2juMCljDKH
— Greg Emerson/G.mamba (@sneakerhad_greg) October 2, 2017
This is important to note because if Mays does have a change of heart, Emerson might have to step in and fill the void as the top commit in the class.
Emerson originally planned to hold his commitment announcement in December but pulled the trigger in July after he injured his ankle. It was always believed that Tennessee would be his choice.
Emerson is one of the better commits in the Class of 2018 for the Vols. His role in the class might increase a lot over the next few weeks.
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