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 if Tennessee keeping the class together, Cade Mays updates, offensive lineman being pursued and running back Jeremy Banks.
To submit a question for Blake, send a message to @BlakeMorganSEC on Twitter or email it to email@example.com.
What does Tennessee have to do to keep this recruiting class from falling apart? I’m sure the commits don’t expect the coaches that recruited them to still be around after this season is over. —Cee Whitaker (Facebook)
I’m sure the recruits are very aware of the situation the coaching staff finds itself in. Coach Butch Jones and his group most likely must win out to keep their jobs.
I think the majority of recruits are waiting to see what happens. Some recruits, like Greg Emerson, still very much believe in Jones and are probably waiting to see if he can turn the season around.
Others might be waiting to see who the next coach will be. I think there are a fair amount of top-level commits that really like the school. If a new hire comes along and the commits fit the style, then they’ll stick with their commitment.
If we keep Butch Jones, how many recruits could we lose? And could bringing in a good coach help keep the recruits at Tennessee? — Kyle Baker (Facebook)
Keeping Jones would likely keep the class more together than if Tennessee let him go. These players have committed to Tennessee, but maybe more so, to play for Jones.
A lot of the commits still believe in Jones, too.
If Tennessee fired Jones and hired a great head coach who recruits well, he could possibly keep most of the class together. The new coach would also have his own guys he would like to bring in too, though.
Tennessee holds commitments from nine in-state prospects. This gives a would-be new coach a nice base to work with.
wanted to check to see how the recruiting is going with Cade Mays is going and if Clemson has a chance to still him away from us.
— David Melton (@DavidLMelton) October 24, 2017
Tennessee is still very much involved with Mays, and he is a top priority. The coaching staff has to know that losing Mays could spell the end.
It would be hard for any coaching staff to overcome losing a 5-star talent in their backyard like Mays. Add in that Mays is a legacy recruit and has been committed over two years, and it’s a lot come back from.
Mays will take an unofficial to Clemson this weekend and then another visit for his official against the Citadel on Nov. 18.
I think Mays will still end up with Tennessee, but Clemson zeroing in is definitely cause for concern.
We have some very good offensive linemen in western North Carolina, Tennessee isn’t looking at them, one, Jake Setterlind 6-foot-6, 315-pounds A.C. Reynolds, on the radar for Clemson, N.C. State. We need OL, what gives? — Mike Black (Facebook)
Jones said just this week that recruiting offensive linemen is ‘paramount’ right now for Tennessee.
I would say Setterlind probably didn’t meet whatever criteria the coaching staff was looking for. He is a Class of 2018 prospect and the Vols already have three commits on the offensive line in the cycle in Cade Mays, Ollie Lane and Tanner Antonutti.
Tennessee wants to add another lineman and the main pursuit has been Jerome Carvin.
Has Tennessee offered Jeremy Banks, the RB out of Cordova? — John Simpson (Facebook)
Banks is a running back on the west side of the state that has really blown up this season.
Colleges are starting to notice and get in on his recruitment. He has picked up offers from Nebraska and USC this week.
Tennessee hasn’t jumped in on Banks. It is only recruiting athlete Mike Barrett from Valdosta, Ga., as a running back.
The Vols lost a commitment from running back Jerome Carvin after the 15-9 loss to South Carolina. There is certainly room for another running back.
Banks also plays with one of Tennessee’s top targets, offensive lineman Jerome Carvin. So, Tennessee has definitely at least seen some of Banks.
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