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 what Tennessee coach Butch Jones does so well and the Vols making a top 5 list.
What works for Butch Jones
Tennessee football coach Butch Jones has developed a reputation as a high-level recruiter. During his tenure, Jones has delivered two top-10 recruiting classes – in 2014 and 2015 – according to the 247Sports team rankings.
This cycle Tennessee ranks No. 4 in the country with 17 current commitments.
Jones participated in ESPN’s “Car Wash” Monday and the hosts asked him about his success on the recruiting trail.
RELATED: Jones clears air on ESPN
“Right now, recruiting is going very, very well,” Jones said. “It’s not just me, it’s having a staff that understands recruiting is a lifeline of your football program. Our coaches enjoy recruiting on a daily basis.”
Offensive line coach Walt Wells and defensive line coach Brady Hoke joined the Tennessee staff this offseason and have succeeded early at recruiting.
Wells texts many of the recruits every single day with inspirational quotes or just checking in. Having a presence in front of recruits has never been easier or more important.
“It’s constant communication, 24/7,” Jones said. “It’s the ability to relate and build relationships that they know is genuine. That’s what I enjoy most.”
Building relationships has been one of Jones’ strongest attributes as a coach.
It takes time to form the bonds that lead to commitments. Tennessee sometimes offers scholarships to players before they begin their sophomore season.
“It’s long and it’s a journey,” Jones said. “It’s a relationship business and that’s what I enjoy the most. Being able to formulate relationships and have that bond.”
Looking for a way to get ahead of the competition can be pretty common. Jones will show off Mercedes Benz S5 50 Coupe as one way to stand out from other coaches.
“In the Southeastern Conference, everything is the ability to relate to kids,” Jones said. “In our profession, we get older every day, but the individuals we deal with never get older. They stay between 17-and 22-years-old.
“Whether it’s your choice in football wear, whether it’s the car you drive. All that goes a long way and being able to, on an official visit, put a young man in your car and drive him around a bit. I think that helps as well.”
Tennessee makes top 5 of OLB from Georgia
Georgia outside linebacker Caleb Kelly released his top 5 Monday and the Vols made the list.
— Caleb Kelly (@ck_ckelly) July 17, 2017
Tennessee will battle out the remainder of Kelly’s recruiting process with Ole Miss, Michigan State, Stanford and Virginia.
While the 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect from Atlanta lists the Vols second, he says the order means nothing.
The Vols offered Kelly in early June and he attended Orange Carpet Day two weeks later.
Kelly is 3-star prospect and ranks as the No. 49 outside linebacker in the Class of 2018, per 247Sports.
Tennessee has no commitments from linebackers at the moment, but continue to look for one or two. Memphis, Tenn., native Cam Jones seems the likeliest to commit to the Vols.
Tennessee holds commitments from four Georgia natives in wide receiver Jatavious Harris, running back Lyn-J Dixon, defensive end Jamarcus Chatman and running back Anthony Grant jr.
Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news here.