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. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss Tennessee and how the shutout to Georgia could affect recruiting.
This was Tennessee’s biggest recruiting weekend of the entire season. The Vols had SEC East rival Georgia in town, Neyland Stadium was as crowded as it will be all season and the team wore its Smokey Gray uniforms.
The Vols had quite the visitor list, too. Tennessee’s top two targets right now — offensive tackle Jerome Carvin and outside linebacker Richard Jibunor — were on campus.
Almost every commit made their way to campus, too. Tennessee has 23 commits in the Class of 2018 and having most together on campus will go a long way in making sure they stay committed. This is, of course, the most important part of recruiting for the Vols from here on out since they have one of the best classes in the country
Everything was scripted perfectly for the Vols to have a huge recruiting weekend. Tennessee could make strides in retaining the already-committed players, and it could make up any ground on potential commits.
The game, however, did not go so according to plan. Georgia shut out Tennessee for the first time in 23 years and handed the Vols its worst loss in Neyland. How much did the 41-0 beatdown affect the prospects that were there?
I don’t believe the game itself will ultimately factor too much into what the prospects thought about the weekend. The most disappointing part of the weekend was that they never saw Neyland at its peak rowdiness.
When every Tennessee fan in the stadium is on their feet and singing Rocky Top, it is one of the best atmospheres in the country. The Vols obviously did not give the fans too much to cheer about Saturday, though.
The reaction from the prospects seems to indicate the recruiting part of the weekend went very well, even if the on-field performance was disastrous.
Carvin told SEC Country that the impression his parents have of the school is important to him. He posted a Snapchat to a story about him, with his mom and him in the Tennessee locker room, both looking like they were having a good time. Carvin said his parents naturally would care more about the school and academics than how a team played on a given Saturday.
Quarterback commit Adrian Martinez made his feelings about his official visit pretty clear over Twitter.
I am so blessed to be apart of the Tennessee football family. Thank you to everyone who made this weekend great! #VFL 🍊
— Adrian Martinez (@MartinezTheQB) October 1, 2017
This was the first time Martinez had been to a game at Tennessee. It was a disappointing game, but he still seemed to come away impressed with what the Vols have to offer. Most importantly, he doesn’t seem like his commitment is shaken at all.
Defensive end commit Jamarcus Chatman said in a Snapchat he missed Knoxville already on Sunday night.
Class of 2020 offensive lineman Brady Ward told SEC Country he was very impressed with his first trip to Knoxville.
“Facilities are second to none,” Ward said. “They have great facilities and the checkered stadium was great. Tennessee has everything needed facility-wise to compete with anybody for championships.”
“The best part was spending a lot of time with Coach [Walt] Wells and talking offensive line this weekend. I got to hang out with Cade and Cooper Mays, and Jackson Lampley. Those are great guys.”
Ward’s comments kind of drill it home. The weekend was about connecting with potential future teammates and seeing what Tennessee has to offer, not so much about the game.
Bad losses like Saturday will have a negative on recruiting at some point, but only if one bad performance follows another bad performance. This specific game won’t do much to hurt recruiting, but repeated dismal efforts might.
I imagine the Tennessee coaching staff will chalk up the recruiting side of the weekend as a success. That’s good, because there were almost no positives at all to take from the game itself.
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