KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt promised Vols fans a 2019 class that would rank “at the very top,” and it’s starting to look like he’ll make good on his word.
Tennessee recruiting has found its momentum, with the Vols nearly doubling their class size in the past month while moving into the nation’s top 20, per 247Sports.
A commitment from North Carolina safety Anthony Harris on Friday boosted the Vols to No. 19 in the nation, a slot ahead of Auburn and closing fast on No. 15 LSU and No. 17 Ole Miss.
A month ago to the day, Tennessee was outside the top 30 and 10th in the SEC, sitting with five commits when Pruitt was asked if the slow start was by design.
“I’m really worried about the guys we get. I don’t know how many everyone else is getting,” Pruitt said in Chattanooga on May 10, the first of five Big Orange Caravan stops. “I think our guys are doing a really good job, and we’re excited about the direction we’re going.”
Tennessee fans know that Pruitt wouldn’t say that if he didn’t mean it, having quickly grown accustomed to the new coach’s blunt, direct nature. No doubt, Pruitt often doesn’t bother with trying to put on a front, and certainly not a happy face.
Some four months ago on National Signing Day, Pruitt took to the podium appearing irritated.
Most coaches typically act as if they’ve just won a national championship on Signing Day, smiling their way through the presentation of new players.
Tennessee’s 2018 class ranked No. 20 in the nation — a strong start to be sure for a coach who had been hired exactly two months before.
Pruitt, however, appeared disappointed by the overall haul.
It probably didn’t help when Quay Walker, a longtime Alabama commit who Pruitt had worked to build a relationship with, put on and then threw off a Tennessee hat before making his commitment to Georgia.
“I know some of you sat there on your hands watching TV and you’re thinking, ‘What if,’ ” Pruitt said at the Feb. 7 Signing Day press conference. “Well, don’t think that no more, because next year on Signing Day, we will be up there at the very top.”
Indeed, Pruitt has proven his hustle and determination before, overcoming a slow start after his Dec. 7 hire to close with a top-30 class in the 2018 early signing period.
The 2019 class continues to be a work in progress, but Pruitt and his staff have found momentum and are zeroing in on the players who fit their system.
Tennessee commits the past month
- 4-star S Anthony Harris, (June 8)
- 4-star LB Lakia Henry (May 20)
- 4-star WR Ramel Keyton (May 16)
- 3-star TE Sean Brown (May 11)
Big Orange Caravan headlines
- Tennessee football could return to Bristol Motor Speedway
- Phillip Fulmer finds SEC ADs more agreeable than coaches
- Jeremy Pruitt expects QB transfer Keller Chryst to provide lift
- Tennessee coaches and athletic department consider Atlanta ‘in state’
- Phillip Fulmer weighs in on Pruitt-Nick Saban debate
- Pruitt and Fulmer highlight different scheduling points
- Pruitt and Fulmer tired of hearing win total expectation questions
- Memphis or Nashville? Pruitt reveals 2019 recruiting preference
- Fulmer calls for timeout to review Neyland Stadium renovation plan
- Pruitt not backing down to Saban on transfer issue
- Pruitt expressing confidence in secondary
- Vols basketball coach Rick Barnes addressing missed NCAA tourney opportunity
- Fulmer brushes off Alabama, Georgia comparisons
- Vague answers from Pruitt fuel speculation on transfers, starters
- Pruitt reveals what he misses about recruiting
- Fulmer not allowing administrative turmoil to disrupt Tennessee athletics
- Pruitt learning that he and Fulmer ‘see a lot of things the same way’
- Fulmer leads Pruitt on caravan stop