After a 5-7 season in Jeremy Pruitt’s first year, it’s obvious there’s still a lot of work to be done to restore the Tennessee Vols football program to its former glory.

But Pruitt and his staff are committed to doing what it takes to return Tennessee to greatness.

In fact, they made quite a statement on Thursday afternoon by landing a commitment from one of the nation’s top 2020 recruits.

Four-star pro-style quarterback Harrison Bailey, 6-foot-4/217 lbs from Marietta, GA, committed to Tennessee on Thursday over the Michigan Wolverines.

The fact that Pruitt was able to land Bailey over one of the country’s most recognizable coaches (Jim Harbaugh), after his UT team stumbled to a 5-7 record in 2018, is pretty amazing.

It’s even more amazing when you remember that Tennessee currently doesn’t have an offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

That should tell you how much elite recruits believe in Pruitt and his vision for the Volunteers.

It also shows that recruits believe Tennessee will win under Pruitt.

Who knows if they’re right. But one thing is certain — the Vols won’t stand a chance if they don’t land players like Bailey.

Just how important is Bailey to Tennessee’s future?

Well, the 2020 quarterback (who, despite rumors, won’t be reclassifying to the 2019 class) was once described as “making Cam Newton’s jaw drop”.

247Sports recruiting analyst Rusty Mansell was impressed with Bailey from a young age.

“I was pretty shocked, to be honest, after watching him in an entire game,” Mansell says. “He wasn’t just making his first read. He wasn’t making the second read. He was going through his progressions. He was making the right throws against blitzes. I’m good friends with the head coach who faced him that night. We talked the next week, and he felt the same way I did. He didn’t think he was going to be that good. But he’s scary good as a freshman.”

Landing Bailey is a move that could completely change the trajectory of Tennessee football in the future.

An elite quarterback can take a program from good to great. We’ve seen that numerous times over the years in college football. Just look at Alabama. They were already great, but with Tua Tagovailoa, they suddenly look like one of the greatest college teams of all time.

I’m not saying Bailey will have that type of impact at Tennessee, but he certainly has the ability to help the Vols reach the next level. Especially since Tennessee should be a more stable program by the time he’s ready to contribute in Knoxville.

The Vols still have a long ways to go under Jeremy Pruitt before they’re relevant again, but they showed on Thursday that they’re committed to doing what it takes to reach the top again.

Featured image via 247Sports

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