Vols Win the SEC East in Recruiting, Final Ranking in the Top 5-7

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It's just recruiting, but it's a big win that matters, so let's celebrate.

The dust has (mostly) settled, and as of right now, the Tennessee Volunteers have landed anywhere from the 4th-best to the 7th-best recruiting class in the nation. Here's the list, per Scout:

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Florida State
  4. Tennessee

That would be the last two National Champions and a runner up, plus Tennessee, who hasn't even been to a bowl game in four years.

Rivals has the Vols one step further down:

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Ohio State
  4. Florida State
  5. Tennessee

That would be the last two National Champions, a runner up, and a team that has lost two games in the past two seasons, both to top ten teams, plus Tennessee.

ESPN also has the Vols at #5, but has the following order:

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Florida State
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Tennessee

All the same teams, plus A&M, who beat the National Champion last year and is reaping the benefits of a crumbling Longhorn program.

And what the what, 247 Sports? You used to be my favorite, but now we're going to have to break up. Here's their list:

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Ohio State
  4. Florida State
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Auburn
  7. Tennessee

Yeah, all those teams plus another runner-up for the National Championship. Plus Tennessee, who's gone 33-41 over the past six years and excelled at inventing new and interesting ways to break the hearts of 100,000 people at exactly the same time.

So what are our takeaways? First, isn't it nice to see the word "Tennessee" in that list next to . . . to . . . Shawn?

Second, this should further drive home the point that trying to rebuild in the SEC is like trying to rebuild during a hurricane. Three of the top four; three of the top five; four of the top five; and five of the top seven -- all in the SEC. You can look like Charlie Weis one day, put on the Rocky soundtrack and look like Tony Horton the next, and still get your butt kicked through your nostrils because your opponent is Tony-20-years-ago, coached by the devil, and on a first name basis with Fate of the Cruel clan.

But here's the good news. Every SEC team on those lists up there -- except for Tennessee -- is in the SEC West. So let Alabama, LSU, A&M, and Auburn beat each other up. We'll watch, and then we'll see you in the SEC Championship.

Yes, I'm getting ahead of myself. Florida and Georgia are right behind us. I mean, like, right behind us. On my saner days, I'll italicize the right word, but today, I'm going to do it differently:

Florida and Georgia are right behind us.

Yes, that's much better.

Yeah, it's only a little behind. Yeah, it's recruiting and not, you know, actual football games. Yeah, it's one year and it's February and it's a long season and blah blah blah I'm not listening.

Because to win, we need great players, and you almost couldn't have asked for a better result this National Signing Day. Today was the best recruiting day for the Volunteer football program in seven years. And I'm hoping that the absolute lack of any drama to speak of today is evidence that these guys are rock solid and not going venture off to Stupidland.

So today's a win. Let's celebrate it, and then let's go get some more on the field this fall.

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