KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Three new Tennessee assistant football coaches have made a splash with the Vols before the start of fall camp.
Offensive line coach Walt Wells, quarterbacks coach Mike Canales, and defensive line coach Brady Hoke have all proven worthy hires based on their results on the recruiting trail alone.
Coach Butch Jones didn’t set out to hire solely strong recruiters, but that played a role in the process.
“That’s one of the profiles we look at,” Jones said Friday at a news conference. “Coaching and getting your players to play at a high level and recruiting falls hand and hand. Because it’s being able to develop and form and build relationships.
“Those individuals are great people with character. They are people-oriented, so that has really helped, and I think you see that in the recruiting right now.”
Tennessee’s Class of 2018 recruiting class ranks No. 5 in the country and best in the SEC, according to 247Sports.
Wells has connected with a number of prospects on the recruiting trail with his personality and daily inspirational texts to the players. Wells deserves credit for securing top Vols commits Cade Mays, Jatavious Harris and Alontae Taylor.
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Canales helped bring in both quarterback commits in the 2018 cycle in Adrian Martinez and Michael Penix. The 55-year-old coach uses 50 questions to connect with the recruits on a more personal level. He uses the questions to find a niche with each recruit.
Hoke’s ability to recruit defensive linemen could match up against anyone.
Tennessee has one of the best defensive line hauls in the country this cycle. The Vols have commitments from Brant Lawless, D’Andre Litaker, Greg Emerson, Jamarcus Chatman and Dorian Gerald.
The new position coaches now will get a chance to show their ability to grow their players’ talent. Tennessee’s first fall practice begins at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Tennessee will be in a good position when the season begins if recruiting and player development going together as easily as Jones said.