Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly mailbag, a question-and-answer forum between readers and Tennessee team and recruiting reporter Blake Morgan. In this edition, we discuss the latest in some Georgia commits recruitments, the chances the team lands Cade Mays and the coaching search.
To submit a question for Blake, send a message to @BlakeMorganSEC on Twitter or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will Vols be able to hold onto big Time Georgia commits? (Dean, Horn, Chatman) (@AG4UT – Twitter)
How solid is Jaycee horns commitment since the coaching change
— James Gentry (@Bigdaddygentry) November 21, 2017
It is a positive that neither have de-committed and a really good sign for the Vols. Tennessee athletic director John Currie has talked with both. Currie has done a good job calming the nerves of the recruiting class from what I can gather.
Being able to hold on to either recruit will come down to who is hired. If Dean and Horn believe it is a good hire who can bring the Vols to the top of the SEC, then I believe they will stay.
Horn has better offers and is more likely to flip than Dean is at this point. I think either would jump at a chance to join Alabama’s class, but I don’t expect the Crimson Tide to jump in on either.
Defensive end Jamarcus Chatman is a much different story. He told SEC Country after Butch Jones’ firing he didn’t know what to think.
Chatman attended the LSU game last weekend and appears like he’s going to remain solidly committed.
I think all three will end up on the Vols’ roster next season, unless Tennessee struggles to find a coach and the search goes deep into December, causing the commits to panic. I wouldn’t worry about that happening for another two weeks, though.
What’s our chance of getting Mays to sign with Tennessee (Johnny Smith – Facebook)
Mays and Tennessee aren’t done by any means. He seems to really like Clemson, and Georgia made a great pitch to him. He’s from Tennessee and was a commit for over two years. He knows many of the players and has too many connections to Knoxville to count.
All this is to say, if the Vols nail the coaching hire, then I believe Tennessee is right back in the middle of the hunt for Mays.
There won’t be much time for convincing, though. Mays plans to use the early signing period beginning on Dec. 20. This is why I think it would be best for Currie to have a coach in place as close to the Monday after the Vanderbilt game as possible. The new coach will need as much time as possible to build a relationship with Mays.
2-part question. In your opinion, who is Tennessee’s #1 candidate right now to be the next head coach? Which candidate is most likely to salvage the 2018 recruiting class? (Harrison Smith – Facebook)
Honestly, I’m not sure who they have targeted as their top candidate. My partner Mike Griffith has heard names ranging from Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher to Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.
Of course, there are all the Jon Gruden grumors, as well.
I don’t think Gruden will be the next coach of Tennessee, and it seems like the rumblings have died down a bit on that front.
The best coach to salvage the class would be Fisher, but I don’t think he’ll be coming to Rocky Top either. Fisher is a great recruiter with a solid staff who would follow. He’s a national championship-winning coach, which is extremely persuasive to recruits.
Memphis’ Mike Norvell is another name I think could salvage the class, too. His name continues to be thrown around. While I don’t think he’s a top candidate, he’s certainly not out of the running.
Norvell is an avid recruiter who embraces the day-to-day grind. I think this is a necessary trait for the new coach and Norvell fits that idea.
When is Jon Gruden getting there and how many 5-stars is he bringing with him?
— Jake Thompson (@JakeThompsonOE) November 21, 2017
Sorry, Jake, I don’t think Gruden is going to end up at Tennessee. Never say never and all that, but I’m not sure it’ll happen.
I did break down Gruden’s quotes over the summer about his thoughts on the rules in the NCAA here.
Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news here.