KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With tonight’s title tilt between Alabama and Clemson putting a bow on the 2016 season, Sporting News already has released its Way-too-early Top 25 for 2017.
Six SEC teams are represented, with Tennessee checking in at No. 24.
The Vols have to replace a lot of talent, so Butch Jones’ recruiting must show through in a tough September that includes games against Georgia Tech, Florida and Georgia.
Tennessee was a preseason top-10 team in 2016. However, a slew of injuries and upset losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt spoiled a potential championship season, so changes are coming to Knoxville.
The Vols will have a much different coaching staff next season, including a new strength and conditioning director and a third offensive coordinator since 2014. They must replace the production of senior quarterback Josh Dobbs, as well as three players — Derek Barnett, Josh Malone and Alvin Kamara — leaving early for the NFL Draft.
With 26 commits, Tennessee’s recruiting class is ranked No. 11 nationally, per the 247Sports composite.
The Vols are ranked behind four teams on their schedule next season: No. 1 Alabama, No. 10 Georgia, No. 11 LSU and No. 14 Florida.
Sporting News’ Way-too-early top 10
- Southern Cal
- Ohio State
- Florida State
- Penn State
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