If the Tennessee Vols are going to be relevant in college football again, they have to return to being a program that recruits nationwide.

Jeremy Pruitt has done a nice job of that so far, landing commitments from several out of state players.

But the Vols also have to own the state of Tennessee, something they haven’t done in recent years.

On player, in particular, that Tennessee absolutely has to land during the 2019 recruiting cycle is four-star wide receiver Trey Knox.

The Murfreesboro, TN native, 6-foot-4/204 pounds, is rated in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 5 player in the state of Tennessee and the No. 32 wide receiver in the nation.

Knox tweeted recently that Pruitt “officially” offered him.

The Vols have let some elite in-state wide receivers slip away in the last couple of years. Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers are the most notable players that have left the state of Tennessee recently.

Pruitt has to make sure that trend stops immediately. The Vols can’t be successful if they’re not landing the top players in their own state.

Knox is being pursued by some of the top programs in the nation, including Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Stanford, among several others.

Losing Knox to any of those programs (especially Clemson) would be an absolute disaster for Pruitt and the Volunteers.

The good news, however, is that Pruitt has already somewhat restored Tennessee’s image. A common refrain we’ve heard from recruits is the expectation that Pruitt will do big things at Tennessee.

It’s pretty incredible that Pruitt has managed to change the perception of how the Vols’ football program is viewed, less than a year after Tennessee won only four games.

As for Knox, I think Pruitt and his staff will ultimately be able to keep the talented wide receiver from leaving the state.

But they better not get too comfortable with his recruitment, or Clemson/Ohio State will be ready to swoop in and steal the Tennessee native.

Featured image via 247Sports

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