So, just how deep a hole has Tennessee found itself after the talent drain that came after Pruitt’s departure? Historically speaking, pretty damned deep ($$).
I surveyed our college football staff at The Athletic and the closest examples are Baylor in 2016 and Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Obviously, Tennessee’s issues are nothing like that, but the coaching change combined with immediate eligibility for transfers led to a perfect storm of talent drain.
Even with a free transfer after a tragic scandal, Penn State lost only about half the total number of players Tennessee did. The Nittany Lions managed to win 15 games the following two seasons but didn’t hit double digits until the fifth season after the scandal, which was James Franklin’s third season at the helm.
Even Baylor didn’t lose these kinds of numbers. The Bears lost seven players from their 2016 recruiting class and Matt Rhule basically had to rebuild the 2017 class from scratch.
If you’re a Georgia fan, there’s only one possible reaction to that.