By Tyler Whetstone, The Tennessean
Butch Jones hasn't coached his first game for Tennessee, yet his arrival in Knoxville and a renewed excitement around the football program have been well documented.
has been a winner everywhere he has coached, most recently at
Cincinnati. The major question regarding Jones at Tennessee was whether
he could recruit with the powerhouses in the SEC.
On Friday at
Music City Center, several former Vols football players spoke at the
2013 Music City Sports Festival and addressed those questions. Yet
before they even took the stage, Jones had corralled another commitment,
bringing UT's total to 15.
The Vols held the No. 1 spot in Rivals.com's 2014 college football recruiting rankings as of Friday.
Even though signing day is eight months away, the process begins now, former UT kicker James Wilhoit said.
isn't something where you can just have one good recruiting class and
you're back. It's going to be a process," he said. "You're really going
to have to fight to bring it back."
Tennessee has not had a No. 1 recruiting class, according to Rivals.com, whose recruiting records date back to 2002. Rivals says that Tennessee's best recent recruiting class was the 2002
group, rated No. 2 overall.
For many Vols fans, those 11 years have been too long a wait.
think (Jones' staff is) benefiting from coming after a staff (where
they) kind of saw things the staff did not do so well," former defensive
back Buck Fitzgerald said. "They've taken those negatives and tried to
turn them around by doing those specific things well."
Former Vols wide receiver Jayson Swain said Jones is leading the way into a new era.
(comes down to) coaching. ... You've got to motivate your players," he
said. "You've got to have your players playing for you willing to be
able to run through a brick wall for you. ... Butch Jones gets it."