I’ve made it pretty clear over the last month that I don’t think Jeremy Pruitt should be the head coach of the Tennessee Vols next season.

It’s not that I think Pruitt is a bad football coach (quite the opposite — he has a brilliant football mind), I just don’t think he’s head coach material.

But no one can predict the future. Maybe Pruitt will prove me wrong.

And in complete fairness to Pruitt, I think he deserves credit for keeping the Vols’ 2021 recruiting class mostly intact.

Tennessee is 3-6 this season, yet they currently have the No. 15 ranked recruiting class in the nation. That ranking will likely be elevated if they’re able to get five-star linebacker Terrence Lewis back in the boat.

(Lewis decommitted from Tennessee earlier this month, but thanks to Auburn’s decision to fire Gus Malzahn, it looks like the Vols might get him back.)

Pruitt managed to keep four-star quarterback Kaidon Salter committed this season (Salter signed with UT on Wednesday). And he kept Aaron Willis, the No. 9 outside linebacker in the nation, from looking around as well (Willis also signed on Wednesday).

Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football. If Pruitt can continue to recruit well (signing borderline top 10 classes should be good enough to field a top 10-15 team), then it’s going to be tough for Tennessee to fire him.

And I understand that line of thinking.

But if Pruitt is going to return to UT next season, he has to change some things. He has to a take step back and learn how to be the CEO of a program. He also has to make some coaching staff changes. Top 10-15 recruiting classes don’t do any good if the talent gets squandered.

If the 2021 recruiting class had fallen apart, it would’ve been the end for Pruitt. While Pruitt did lose a couple of kids, he’s kept the bulk of the class together.

And because of that, I think Pruitt be back as Tennessee’s head coach in 2021.

Featured image via Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

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