On top of that, the numbers (No. 13 class in 2019 and No. 10 in 2020) lie here, considering the attrition through the transfer portal. Three of the Vols’ top four signees in 2019 are gone, and that doesn’t include Gray, who led the Vols in rushing and was second in receptions. The Vols’ top signee in the 2020 class, defensive back Key Lawrence, is with Morris at Oklahoma, too.
Last spring, amid the recruiting shutdown, Tennessee had the nation’s No. 2 class for 2021 and was aiming to finish in or near the top five. Then the losing started. That, combined with the coaching change, contributed to the Vols losing seven once-committed four- or five-star players from the class. Then the top two signees who enrolled early (Willis and Salter) were suspended for all of spring practice for an off-field incident. Four players who signed with the Vols during the early signing period were released from their letter of intent, including four-stars Dylan Brooks, KaTron Evans and Cody Brown. The Vols ultimately tumbled to No. 22 in the 247Sports Composite, which places the 2021 class eighth in the SEC.
That Phil Fulmer sure could pick ’em.
The best thing the Vols have going for them is the schedule. This year’s non-conference slate is led by a home game against Pitt and goes downhill from there. Outside of Florida and Georgia, the East isn’t overwhelming. You could almost see a bowl game in UT’s immediate future, but you’re not the NCAA.