Gridiron Now writer refers to Tennessee’s 2017 recruiting class as “a Derek Dooley-level recruiting class”.
Category Archives: Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange
Tennessee was 2016’s heavy favorite to win the SEC East. Tennessee flops. Butch Jones responds: “They’ve won the biggest championship — that’s the championship of life…”
Fast forward to February, 2017. Tennessee comes out of national signing day with a middling result by SEC standards. Two of its permanent opponents, Alabama and Georgia, dominate the final recruiting class rankings. Butch Jones responds:
“We’ve spoken about the competitive nature, and I think that’s really, really big in today’s world,” Jones said. Everyone gets into the whole two-star, three-star, four-star, five-star thing. The only five-star that we even concern ourselves with is a five-star heart.
“We want five-star hearts and five-star competitors.”
I’m sensing a pattern here.
Jones and Tennessee director of player personnel Bob Welton said they evaluate a player’s competitive spirit throughout the recruiting process, and not just on the football field, basketball court or baseball diamond.
The Vols entertain recruits with games throughout their weekends in Knoxville. They play games on campus, go bowling downtown and play ping pong, billiards, corn hole and even charades during trips to Jones’ house.
Welton said Tennessee isn’t just entertaining the players in those situations. He said they’re also evaluating them.
“It could be something as a simple as a corn hole game, but our guys are competing, talking trash,” Welton said. “We watch that. We observe that. We’ve actually shied away from some kids on visits when all these kids are out there competing, and that kid’s over there just sitting. That tells you a lot about a kid.
“That competitiveness, you can’t coach it, and you usually can’t change it once you get ‘em. You can’t put that into a kid. They have to be born with it and live with it.”
I can’t wait ’til Booch proclaims his team the SEC’s 2017 corn hole champions. Is there a bonus for that in his contract?
I mentioned the story yesterday about the top 100 recruit willing to grayshirt at Alabama because there was literally no room at the inn for him in the ridiculous class Saban assembled, but Tennessee’s head coach wants us to know things were just as tough for him.
“We had to turn away very, very talented football players, unfortunately, because of our numbers and what we needed with this current football team, and probably had to turn away more talented players than we’ve had since we’ve been here.”
I guess that would explain how UT wound up with the seventh-best class in the conference.
Tennessee is shelling out 75 large for a search firm to aid in finding its next athletic director. Nice work if you can get it, especially if you can help a good buddy out in the process.
DeFilippo, who earned his master’s degree at Tennessee, is a longtime friend of former Volunteers coach Phillip Fulmer, who perhaps is the top candidate to replacement the outgoing Dave Hart.
There’s also a six-member search committee being formed. Kind of a belt and suspenders approach, although I suspect the real purpose is to make sure no one individual can be held accountable if things should go south with the new guy. And let’s face it — this is Tennessee, so the odds on that happening ain’t bad, considering the Vols’ track record lately.
In a year with a record number of de-commitments across the college football landscape, Booch still manages to stand out.
Interestingly, though, only six of the 14 SEC programs have seen decommitment numbers increase this season from last, but a few of the jumps are enough to account for the difference: Mississippi State has had 10 decommits in this class, compared with just one last year. And the Tennessee Vols are leading the way with 13 decommits this year and 24 overall in the past two. [Emphasis added.]
Hey, he’s leading the way! That’s something, right?
Opportunity is elsewhere.
In case you missed it, Booch has himself a new offensive coordinator. Andy Staples gives you the deets:
Coach Butch Jones promoted tight ends coach Larry Scott to run the offense in place of Mike DeBord, who left for Indiana earlier this month.
When Jones plucked DeBord from a non-coaching job at Michigan, it was to ensure the Volunteers ran the Butch Jones offense. That seems to be the aim here as well—for better or for worse. Scott has only called plays at the high school level, but he did go 4–2 as the interim coach at Miami following Al Golden’s firing in 2015. [Emphasis added.]
That seems promising. At least he won’t be burdened with coaching quarterbacks.