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. In this edition, we discuss just how well Tennessee’s recruiting is going right now.
Tennessee still tops recruiting in SEC
KINGSPORT, Tenn. — In front of a crowd of more than 1,000 Tennessee fans Tuesday night at the Kingsport Farmers Market at the Big Orange Caravan stop in the Tri-Cities, coach Butch Jones talked about the state of the football program.
In the midst of him defending his now somewhat infamous “5-star hearts” comment about the 2017 recruiting in February, Jones made maybe the most noteworthy comment about how the Vols have been recruiting for the Class of 2018.
“I don’t know if anybody knows this, but recruiting is going extremely well right now,” Jones said.
Jones’ statement happens to be very accurate as well. The Vols recruiting so well isn’t a secret by any means, but hearing the coach say it has to be refreshing for the fan base.
The comment came just one day after Jones’ players spent time defending their coach’s job at Tennessee. Defensive tackle Kendal Vickers went as far as to say the questions were “a little disrespectful.”
The hot-seat talk has not slowed Tennessee’s ability to bring in talent in great numbers, though.
Tennessee has taken 17 commitments for this class. The Vols’ class currently ranks No. 3 in the country and No. 1 in the SEC, according to the 247Sports composite.
Alabama has six commitments and ranks No. 11 in the SEC by comparison.
Why has Tennessee done so well?
Jones and his staff have obviously made a point of bringing the top in-state talent to Knoxville. The Vols have secured commitments from six of the top nine players in the Volunteer State.
Tackle Jerome Carvin ranks as the No. 10 player in the state and Tennessee continues to be one of the favorites, along with Alabama, to land the offensive lineman.
These are high-level recruits, too. Four of Tennessee’s recruits rank as top 250 prospects in the class with offensive lineman Cade Mays (No. 13), Greg Emerson (78), Alontae Taylor (126) and Brendon Harris (224).
Tennessee received commitments from only the top 3 in-state prospects in the 2017 cycle.
There certainly seems to have been a course correction from what happened a year ago.
Jones and Tennessee have placed themselves back on top of recruiting the Volunteer State. That will only continue to help the Vols in the future.
Which coaches have made a big impact?
Offensive line coach Walt Wells and defensive line coach Brady Hoke stand out as two of the most-talked-about assistant coaches among the recruits.
Wells seems to connect with almost every prospect he comes in contact with on the recruiting trail. He has helped bring in commitments from Harris, Taylor and Ollie Lane.
Hoke has distinguished himself in a big way by helping bring in five defensive line commits to this class in Emerson, Brant Lawless, D’Andre Litaker, Jamarcus Chatman and JUCO player Dorian Gerald.
His message resonates with the prospects and has paid off for the Vols.
Both coaches came into those positions in the spring and have hit the ground running.
The two coaches have been some of the biggest social media presences for the Tennessee coaching staff as well.
Each has come into his own on Twitter.
Wells for his wrestling GIFs:
B🍊🍊M!!! From Coast to Coast!! Big time Phone Call!! Gotta love that pressure!! #🍊rangeSwarm!! VFL pic.twitter.com/15ZUPcJKTR
— Walt Wells (@UTWWells) July 6, 2017
Hoke for his all-caps tweets:
WATCH OUT ROCKY TOP WE HAVE A TRAIN HEADED OUR WAY! NEXT STOP: THE TRENCHES #DOM1N8 🔶⬜️
— Brady Hoke (@UTCoachHoke) July 6, 2017
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