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 the impression the Orange and White Game left on a legacy recruit.
Coach Jeremy Pruitt was upset at his players’ efforts and the possibly the crowd during the Orange and White Game on Saturday.
But Class of 2020 Vols legacy recruit Navy Shuler wasn’t paying attention to the crowd. He was too busy keeping tabs on the new offensive system and how the quarterbacks were performing. He had a similar takeaway that a lot of Vols fans had while watching the offense.
“I noticed they put in a fullback,” Shuler told SEC Country. “They hadn’t had that in years. I also noticed how the quarterback intensity was on the field during the game. That was a big deal with what [offensive coordinator Tyson] Helton was doing for the game.”
It’s no surprise that Shuler, the son of former Vols quarterback Heath Shuler, wasn’t distracted by the game-like atmosphere. He’s been coming to games his entire life. Shuler wanted to see if he’d be a fit with what the coaching staff is trying to accomplish.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound quarterback has a lot of respect for Helton, who brought a nice résumé to Knoxville from Southern Cal. He helped develop quarterback Sam Darnold into likely top 5 NFL draft pick.
Helton is transitioning the team to a pro-style offense. This appeals a lot to Shuler, who operates a West Coast offense for Christ School in Arden, N.C. Shuler believes he has the accuracy to run the Tennessee offense if he were to come here. He has his father’s confidence.
Seen it all
Shuler is in a unique position from a lot of recruits. Since he’s been around the Tennessee program for so many years, he’s seen the different coaching styles that have passed through Rocky Top.
The philosophy and style Jeremy Pruitt and Co. have stands out to Shuler.
“I watched Coach Pruitt a lot through the game,” Shuler said. “He was going around coaching every position. He was talking to everyone. All the coaches were involved on the sideline, as well. I thought that was pretty cool to see.”
Shuler isn’t rushing to make any college decision. He has plenty of time before a real decision has to be made. It’s no certainty that he’ll end up at Tennessee. His high school is bringing in multiple schools to watch him throw to bring even more interest his way.
Duke, Wake Forest and North Carolina all talk to Shuler as much as Tennessee. He’s looking for a fit more than anything else.
“Just the system of people,” Shuler said. “The people I want to be around for the next four years, like the coaches surrounding me.”
I’ll be writing about the Vols’ weekend plenty of times this week. Tennessee didn’t come away with any commitments, but it was still a positive for the program.
Here are some reactions from prospects who were on campus. SEC Country has learned the Vols are still trailing South Carolina for 4-star cornerback Jaydon Hill, who was on campus. He said it’s very close. This is a battle that Tennessee needs to win.
If nothing else, though, this was the first opportunity for recruits to see what a game day under Pruitt looks like.
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