247Sports’ Brandon Marcello isn’t very confident in Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel’s chances of success in 2021.
Marcello recently predicted which first-year head coaches will be the most successful in 2021 and Heupel didn’t even crack his top 10.
Here’s Marcello’s top 10:
- Gus Malzahn — UCF
- Andy Avalos — Boise State
- Steve Sarkisian — Texas
- Blake Anderson — Utah State
- Bryan Harsin — Auburn
- Clark Lea — Vanderbilt
- Bret Bielema — Illinois
- Jedd Fisch — Arizona
- Butch Jones -Arkansas State
- Will Hall — Southern Mississippi
Marcello has Heupel at No. 13, just above Shane Beamer at South Carolina.
Now, before you get too upset at these rankings, it’s important to remember that Marcello isn’t ranking coaches here. He’s simply ranking which coaches will have the most successful seasons.
I think it’s fair to put Heupel way down the list, considering the incredibly difficult situation he inherited at Tennessee. Potential scholarship reductions, combined with a mass exodus of transfers, isn’t a recipe for success. Heupel may end up being a great head coach for the Vols, but it’s reasonable to expect some struggles in year one.
The one area, however, where fans may have a legit gripe with this list is at No. 6.
I’m not sure how Marcello can justify Heupel at 13 while putting Vanderbilt’s Clark Lea at No. 6.
The Commodores were the worst team in the SEC last season at 0-9. And Lea has never been a head coach before. If anything, Lea should be dead last on this list. We have no idea what Vanderbilt is getting in Lea. And he’s inheriting a situation that’s worse than what Heupel walked into at Tennessee.
Ultimately, this list means absolutely nothing. But it’s interesting to see how the national media views Heupel and the rest of the first-year head coaches.
And it’s clear they’re not expecting much from Heupel in 2021.
Maybe that’s a good thing. It might light a fire under Heupel and the Vols.
Featured image via Tennessee Athletic Communications