The Tennessee Vols are coming off the worst season in the history of their football program (4-8 overall, 0-8 in SEC action).
But you wouldn’t know it by listening to recruits.
Despite the Vols’ historically bad season in 2017, Tennessee is still attracting plenty of attention from some of the nation’s most sought after recruits.
Take 2018 four-star cornerback Warren Burrell for example.
Burrell is coming off an official visit to Tennessee and he had plenty of glowing remarks for new head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff.
What did 4-star CB Warren Burrell think of his OV with the Vols?
“The coaching staff is a huge plus. What you see is what you get. … It’s a new staff, but they have things under control. They have really big plans for Tennessee. It’s really attractive to see all that.”
— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) June 3, 2018
It’s amazing to see how Pruitt has completely changed the perception of Tennessee without even coaching a game on Rocky Top yet.
I understand that some Vol fans might be a bit leery of going all in on Pruitt this soon, considering they saw former head coach Butch Jones have similar early recruiting success.
But there’s a big difference in what Pruitt is doing and what Jones did.
Jones used his used car salesman personality to sway recruits to Tennessee. He made opportunities sound better than they really were. He also made a lot of promises he couldn’t keep. Some of the players that Jones attracted using that method weren’t the type of players the Vols needed. When those players arrived and saw things were going to be a bit tougher than they envisioned, they hit the road.
Pruitt is taking a different approach. He’s being up front with recruits, telling them during the recruiting process what he wants and expects. He’s basically coaching them before they’ve even committed. That way there are no surprises when a player arrives on campus and suddenly the guy that was making jokes in their living while praising their mom’s meatloaf is screaming at them on a miserably hot August day.
Obviously there’s a bit of wining and dining during the recruiting process. And Pruitt will have to do some of that. But he’s absolutely not going to try to impress recruits with his fancy watches. And he won’t be making any grand promises.
In fact, the only promise Pruitt will be making is that a player will have the same opportunity to be great that everyone has when they put on a Tennessee uniform.
It’s up to them to make the most of it.
Featured image via UT Sports