Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt continued his hot streak on Wednesday by landing four-star athlete Bryce Thompson, a late addition to the 2018 class.

Thompson, who can play either wide receiver or defensive back for the Vols, was rated in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 12 athlete in the nation.

Suffice it to say, it’s a really, really nice addition for a Tennessee team that needs to quickly add talent.

The roster that Pruitt inherited doesn’t have a lot of depth. At least not the kind of depth you need to be a factor in the SEC over an entire season.

When you combine that lack of depth with Tennessee’s grueling schedule, you get low expectations for Pruitt’s first season. Most college football analysts have the Vols winning around six games next season.

But I’m starting to wonder if we’re underselling Tennessee a bit.

Look, I’m not here to tell you that Tennessee is going to shock everyone and win the SEC East in Pruitt’s first year. That’s not happening.

I’m just saying don’t be surprised if the Vols win some games no one expects them to win next year.

Pruitt has already proved he’s going about this head coaching thing in a much different way than his predecessor. He’s not bemoaning the lack of talent or size on his team, he’s not planting excuses in May so fans aren’t surprised by losses in October. And he’s not jumping at every media opportunity so he can try to change the image of Tennessee with his goofy grin.

Nah, Pruitt is just coaching football and trying to let Tennessee be Tennessee.

Which is all he needs to do.

Tennessee Vols

Pruitt feels like the type of coach that will overachieve in his first season. It would be easy to give him a pass in his first season, but if Pruitt is going to be great at Tennessee, then it will likely start by expectations being surpassed in year one.

There will obviously be some growing pains for Pruitt. He’ll try some things that work, and he’ll try some things that fail miserably.

But for the most part, we’ll learn who Pruitt is as a head coach in 2018. And the foundation of who he is, isn’t something that will change over time.

I think Pruitt will prove to be the real deal at Tennessee. And I think he’ll prove it early.

We’re going to see a much different team when the Vols open the season on September 1 against West Virginia.

That doesn’t mean Tennessee will win that game — West Virginia, led by quarterback Will Grier, is a really good team.

But we’re going to see a team that looks more like traditional Tennessee football than anything we’ve seen in the last decade.

Of course, if the Vols don’t win, Pruitt is going to be pissed.

And that’s exactly how it should be.

Moral victories are a thing of the past on Rocky Top. Don’t be surprised when the real wins start piling up under Pruitt.

Featured image via Football Scoop/Getty Images

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Brother I sure hope you’re analysis turns up correct! I’m a Vol fan so I’ve got a biased view but I think you’re spot-on about the season, about Pruitt, and also about this team being undervalued. This is likely the result of… “Tennessee Fatigue” let’s call it. People had to hear so much about Tennessee finally being…BACK. And, then came the Dumpster Fire. I think the entire Tennessee saga over the last decade has made people just kind of default towards assuming the worst about the Vols and Pruitt is capable of raising the level of play IMMEDIATELY.

    I think we’ll beat West Virginia who will be an offensively dynamic football team; however, I think getting them in the season opener, at a neutral site, will play into the hands of Pruitt and his hungry, talented defense.

    The Vols may be breaking in new schemes, players and coaches, but we have some substantial talent and Pruitt will squeeze the blood from the stone and pickup a much needed shot in the arm for Big Orange Nation in Week One.

    They’ll go on to win at least 7 games, and I’ll actually take them via my Homer’s Pick to finish 9-3 with losses to UGA, Auburn, and of course, Bama.

    This falls in step with your “Pruitt Overachieves in Year One” prediction as well. If he goes 9-3 and 5-3 in conference, he’d better win SEC Coach of the Year!

  2. It will be an interesting season for our Vols. The success will hinge on how much the 18 class can help especially the Jr college and transfers. 6 wins Pruitt should be in discussion for the SEC coach of the year award

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