The Tennessee Vols’ football program saw three players head for the exit this week after a 34-3 shellacking at the hands of the Florida Gators.
The three players (Will Ignont, Shanon Reid and Jacquez Jones) were all signed by previous UT head coach Butch Jones.
Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt has been giving more and more playing time to the young players he signed, so it’s not surprising to see some of the older players move on.
Earlier this season, Pruitt alluded to potential transfers via some candid remarks he made on Vol Calls prior to Tennessee’s matchup with BYU in week two.
Jacquez Jones, a former three-star recruit who signed with the Vols over Kentucky, Miami and UCF (among a few others), recently spoke with The Athletic’s David Ubben and explained his departure from Knoxville.
The interview was quite revealing and certainly worth a read.
One comment that stood out to me, however, was when Ubben asked Jones what the last month has been like inside the Tennessee locker room.
Jones didn’t insinuate that UT’s locker room is in any sort of disarray. He said it was “just guys focusing on the things they can focus on and being a great team”.
It sounds like the Vols’ locker room is focused and in a good place.
The Florida native also said that if the Vols keep Pruitt, then Tennessee will eventually be “great”. Jones added that he thinks Pruitt is a “great coach” and a “motivator”.
Other than Jones’ dissatisfaction with his lack of playing time, he had nothing negative at all to say about Pruitt and UT.
If Jones was describing a crumbling locker room and coaches that had no idea what they were doing, then it would be fine for Tennessee fans to hit the panic button.
But he didn’t. Jones simply decided that being a Vol wasn’t right for him anymore. While he professed his love for Tennessee, Jones knows that a better opportunity for him to use his talents lies elsewhere.
That’s just how it goes sometimes.
Butch Jones didn’t recruit the same type of players that Jeremy Pruitt is recruiting.
As a result, we’re going to continue to see some of those “Butch players” hit the transfer portal.
It’s a normal part of any rebuilding process. And I think Jones’ comments about leaving should confirm for fans that transferring players is nothing to worry about for now.
Featured image via 247Sports/USA Today