Tennessee fans might not be completely satisfied with Butch Jones but he has had a pretty strong past month, especially on the recruiting trail.
The Vols now have the No. 2 SEC class for the 2018 recruiting cycle after landing 4-star quarterback Adrian Martinez. Only LSU has a better 2018 recruiting class among SEC teams.
As for Jones, he went 9-4 for the second consecutive season, but it was a disappointing 9-4, given that the Volunteers were pegged to win the SEC East. While Jones did have a breakthrough by beating Florida, losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt undid most of the goodwill Jones built. The Vanderbilt loss likely cost Tennessee a spot in the Sugar Bowl.
In 2017, Jones will have to replace star defensive end Derek Barnett and quarterback Josh Dobbs. Barnett was taken in the first round of the NFL draft, while Dobbs went in the fourth round. As for who might replace Dobbs, it’s a competition between Jarrett Guarantano and Quinten Dormady. Dormady looked fantastic in the Tennessee spring game.
“I thought they competed all spring. I thought that was evident,” Jones said about his quarterbacks after the spring game. “That quarterback challenge, that’s a measuring stick, to see how they respond. … I’ve been pleased with the quarterback position all spring.”
The Vols have a tough 2017 schedule, as they’ll open the season against Georgia Tech on Sept. 4 in Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Tennessee’s SEC West foes this season are Alabama and LSU. Winning the SEC East will be no small task for Jones this season.
An SEC East title would greatly help Jones, especially in the eyes of fans. In SEC Country’s previous approval rating poll, Jones did bump up to a 66.6 percent approval rating. That ranked last among SEC East coaches, and only Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin had lower ratings.
In four seasons in Knoxville, Jones is 30-21 overall and 14-18 in the SEC, with three consecutive bowl wins.
Jones made $4.1 million in 2016.
Vote on Butch Jones’ approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents that select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.