There are typically two reasons a head coach hires an assistant.
It’s because he’s a good football coach/teacher, and because he’s a really good recruiter.
When Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt hired Chris Weinke to be the Volunteers’ running backs coach, one of the perceived “pros” of the hire was Weinke’s connection to IMG Academy in Florida.
Weinke was the head coach at IMG Academy from 2010-2014. The assumption was that his connection there would pay massive dividends for Tennessee.
That connection was put to the test early when Tennessee native Shamar Nash, a four-star wide receiver who recently enrolled at IMG Academy, made his college decision earlier this winter.
Nash, though, didn’t commit to the Vols. He instead committed to Missouri (and later decommitted and committed to Arkansas).
Weinke’s connection, however, finally paid off this week. 2019 three-star offensive tackle Chris Akporoghene, a Nashville native who plays at IMG Academy, committed to Tennessee on Monday.
My decision……. pic.twitter.com/UraxLnUJYy
— Chris Akporoghene Jr. 🇳🇬🇺🇸 (@yomzking) July 9, 2018
I’m not positive how big of an impact Weinke had on Akporoghene’s decision, but his connection to IMG Academy certainly couldn’t have hurt.
Ultimately, Weinke’s connection to IMG Academy will likely be a big benefit for the Vols. But it doesn’t mean Tennessee is going to land every highly rated recruit that comes out of IMG Academy. There are countless other factors that recruits consider when choosing where they’ll play in college.
However, when it comes to recruiting, any edge that can be gained is a huge positive.
Featured image via 247Sports