The 2010’s saw Tennessee Vols recruiting classes that were ranked anywhere from No. 4 in the nation to No. 25.
Of course, final class ranking wasn’t always indicative of how the actual recruiting classes performed. Some high rated classes saw a lot of attrition, while some lower rated classes featured some hidden gems.
Every Vols recruiting class this decade produced at least one core player that was extremely important to Tennessee’s success.
Here are the best players from each Tennessee recruiting class this decade, starting with Derek Dooley’s first recruiting class, just weeks after taking over for Lane Kiffin in early 2010.
2010 — Ja’Wuan James — OL
Tennessee’s 2010 recruiting class was ripe with talent, which made it difficult to pick the best player from the class.
There could be argument made for Justin Hunter, Tyler Bray or Mychal Rivera. Other notable players include Da’Rick Rogers, Michael Palardy, Matt Darr, Zach Fulton and James Stone.
But I think Ja’Wuan James has to be the pick here. James played four years at Tennessee and started every game for the Vols during that span (49 starts in 49 games). James was named to the AP All-SEC second team in 2013 and the coaches All-Freshman team in 2010. The Georgia native was drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins in 2014 with the No. 19 overall pick. James signed with the Denver Broncos after the 2018 season, inking a four year deal worth $51 million.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports/AP