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 amount of time Jeremy Pruitt will receive, and the latest in commitments vs. signees and in-state recruiting.
To submit a question for Blake, send a message to @BlakeMorganSEC on Twitter or email it to email@example.com.
This is a very important question, and it could determine Jeremy Pruitt’s legacy and tenure with the Volunteers.
Pruitt’s team will have to show marked improvement from Year 1 to Year 2, which isn’t asking too much and is fairly normal. There should be a noticeable culture change and recruiting should begin to take hold after being in a program for 18 months.
The team might run into some growing pains in 2018. The offense and defense are going to go through dramatic scheme shifts. The personnel doesn’t really line up with what the coaching staff wants to do. That’s fine, though.
Pruitt needs to show the team is progressing and getting better throughout the year. And a weaker second half of the schedule will help.
The staff making waves on the recruiting trail will help a lot too. The Class of 2019 should show the recruiting potential of this staff. If the staff can land some blue-chip recruits, then the fan base will overlook some shortcomings on the field.
How much time and patience will Pruitt get from the fan base?
The team’s performance in Pruitt’s second year and the strength of the 2019 recruiting class will determine it.
The above point segues nicely into this question. Pruitt can pick up a lot of momentum on the recruiting trail this spring and summer. The Vounteers can grab a number of commitments, but it doesn’t mean much until they sign.
Butch Jones and his staff had the Volunteers in the top 10 for the Class of 2018 last summer. After the 41-0 drubbing by Georgia on Sept. 30, the class started to fall apart.
To be fair, it was becoming clear Jones was in real danger of losing his job and ultimately did. This caused a lot of the prospects to look elsewhere.
I don’t predict anything like that to happen with Pruitt in the Class of 2019 cycle. When recruiting classes fall apart the way Tennessee’s sis last season, it’s usually because a coaching change is near.
Pruitt won’t be in any danger of that during his first season.
— Lewis Chilton (@lewischilton) February 9, 2018
This will be an interesting topic to follow moving forward. Lewis is referring to this Rocky Talk podcast from two weeks ago.
Recruiting expert Woody Wommack had some interesting comments about Pruitt and recruiting the state of Tennessee.
“I’m wondering, we saw the emphasis they put on players from California this past class and losing out late,” Wommack said. “I’ll be curious to see. [Jackson] Lampley is one of those guys who basically signed a letter of intent with his birth certificate.
“There are a lot of good players. There is a reason Urban Meyer is down here on a regular basis. Clemson is creeping in. They are going to have competition. The question is will they go after it or focus on California and Atlanta?”
This staff seemingly really likes the idea of recruiting all over the country. California has been a priority, and I’ll be writing more on SEC Country in the coming week or so about Louisiana becoming important in this class.
Focusing more on the state of Tennessee could pay more dividends for this staff, especially with this being the most talented crop of prospects in years. Pruitt and his staff likely will make the Volunteer State a priority. How much of a priority compared to other states will be the interesting question to answer.
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