Most folks knew Butch Jones was done as the Tennessee Vols head coach after his 2016 team — which was loaded with talent — lost to Vanderbilt.
There were, of course, some fans who still believed in Butch heading into the 2017 season. But eventually, even those fans knew that Butch was done.
What finally did Butch in at Tennessee was his inability to land elite recruits from East Tennessee and surrounding areas.
Letting homegrown talent like Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers leave the Knoxville area for Clemson was a sure sign that it was over.
Jeremy Pruitt is entering that same phase of his Tennessee coaching career.
Recruiting is starting to slip for the Vols, which isn’t a surprise for a 2-6 team.
Tennessee lost a commitment from five-star linebacker Terrence Lewis late last month. They also lost a commitment from four-star defensive back Damarius McGhee.
Losing those players obviously hurts. Inside linebackers and cornerbacks who can cover are essential for a strong defense in the SEC. But Lewis and McGhee are both out-of-state players. It’s not a surprise that they want to take a look around at other options with the Vols in the midst of a disappointing season.
Now, here’s where Pruitt is entering Butch territory.
It appears that UT is on the verge of losing a commitment from four-star tight end Hudson Wolfe, who is from Savannah, TN.
Wolfe has been flirting heavily with Ole Miss and has some curious “likes” on his Twitter profile.
Losing Wolfe would hurt for several reasons. Mostly because the Vols desperately need a productive tight end on their roster. Tennessee hasn’t received much production from the tight end position this season — which is probably one of the main reasons Wolfe could be on the move.
An in-state player eschewing the Vols for Lane Kiffin Ole Miss (worth noting that Ole Miss is actually closer to Wolfe’s hometown in Tennessee) tells us that at least one elite recruit views the Rebels as a program that’s on a better trajectory than UT.
And that’s a major problem.
When recruiting goes downhill, it’s over for a coach. There’s no coming back from it.
That’s currently where Pruitt is. It’s time for the Vols to make the move and find a new head coach. We’ve seen this before and it’s only going to get worse from here
Update: Wolfe has officially decommitted from Tennessee.
Recruiting update. pic.twitter.com/K552lITMSF
— Hudson Wolfe (@HudsonWolfe80) December 10, 2020
Featured image via USA TODAY