Tennessee had been trending downward on the recruiting trail for the past few months. The Vols were floundering on the field, and each loss made it more clear Butch Jones would not be coaching on Rocky Top the next season.
December was the most critical month of the year for the Vols in recruiting. The class had fallen apart, and a coaching change needed to take place.
Now it seems as though new coach Jeremy Pruitt has not only saved the class, but the group could be turning into a great one.
Here is how the Vols did on their to-do list this month:
Hire a coach
Tennessee obviously pulled this one off — and might have fallen forward into a home run. Pruitt shows the potential to develop into one of the best coaches in the SEC.
What he’s done with the recruiting class in a short amount time indicates Tennessee can be a force to reckon with on the trail. We’ll find out more about his on-the-field coaching in time. There are still months to go before we can examine just how good the Vols will be next season. For now, Pruitt has inspired the fan base, which was in desperate need to find hope somewhere.
Keep pursing Alontae Taylor and Cade Mays
Tennessee split on this one.
Taylor came back to Tennessee after making the rounds. The Vols’ decision to keep him as a wide receiver helped close the deal. He also just wanted to play for the team he grew up watching as his home-state school.
Mays did not feel the same pull to stay with his home-state school. He didn’t seriously consider Rocky Top much after his decommitment in November, instead choosing Georgia.
Don’t lose any more commitments
Tennessee did lose a few more commitments in December. Some left on their own accord, such as cornerback Jaycee Horn.
Others, such as quarterback Michael Penix, fell victim to not fitting what the new coaching staff wants from the position.
At the beginning of December, decommitments loomed as a potentially big problem. Pruitt has calmed that fear. Tennessee now holds 17 commitments, and 14 have already signed.