The Tennessee Vols have a litany of young, talented players who have a bright future in football.
One of those young players is true freshman linebacker Henry To’o To’o.
The four-star recruit from Concord, CA signed with Tennessee this past February over Alabama, Utah and Washington.
Landing To’o To’o over those established programs was one of Jeremy Pruitt’s early “big wins” at UT.
So why did To’o To’o eschew one of the top programs in the country, and two of the top programs on the west coast, for a school in East Tennessee that had a combined nine wins over the previous two seasons.
Unsurprisingly, it’s because of a word that’s become a bit of a theme with Pruitt and his staff over the last several months — trust.
After dealing with the recruiting process, To’o To’o and his family knew the ugly side of college football. They knew that some programs just wanted To’o To’o for his talent, not because they cared about him as a person.
With Pruitt, however, things were different. To’o To’o and his family grew to trust Tennessee’s young head coach. They believed in not just his vision for UT, but also in his genuineness.
#Vols freshman LB on Henry To’o To’o: You never know in recruiting who you can really trust, but Coach Pruitt is someone my family and I trust completely. He’s a genuine dude. He tells you the truth. He’ll do anything for you. He’s exacly the kind of coach I wanted to play for.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) October 29, 2019
There are a lot of great college football recruiters out there. A lot of smooth talkers. But not all of those coaches are genuine. Not all of them care the way Pruitt and his staff care.
You can’t fake Pruitt’s approach. Recruits and their families are incredibly smart. They can see through the insincere recruiting pitches.
Pruitt’s ability to connect with players on a real level, combined with the Vols looking better on Saturdays, is going to led to a big recruiting payoff eventually (as in a cascade of elite recruits signing with UT, not just a couple here and there)
And when it does, the rest of the SEC better watch out. Tennessee’s been a joke for a long time. But those days might be over in the not-so-distant future.
Featured image via Randy Sartin/USA Today