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Tennessee gets shut out of 2019 NFL Draft

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Pretty crazy when you think about it.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Just what exactly did Jeremy Pruitt get himself into when he took the Tennessee job back in December of 2017? Well, he walked into a program void of talent and filled with underachievers, to be totally blunt. That point was once again driven home during the 2019 NFL Draft.

Tennessee’s class of 2015, one of the best on paper of the last decade, didn’t hear a single name called in the entire 2019 NFL draft. Frankly, that’s unacceptable for a program that landed the nation’s 4th ranked recruiting class in 2015.

For a multitude of reasons, this class never came together and produced like it should have. Injuries, departures and an aimless previous coaching staff left Tennessee without a selection in this draft class.

Two former five-star prospects, Shy Tuttle and Kyle Phillips, represented Tennessee’s best chance at having a draft pick in 2019. That didn’t happen. The other five-star prospect from that class, Kahlil McKenzie, went in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Four-star receiver Preston Williams transferred before his Tennessee career really even got going. Four-star tackle Drew Richmond struggled for three years before opting to enter the transfer portal this offseason. He’s now at USC.

Four-star guard Jack Jones was forced to give up football due to injuries, while four-star linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. has had his moments, but it seems like his career is now in jeopardy with his latest knee injury.

In summation, not a lot went right for this class. It’s why Butch Jones is now an offensive analyst for Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa. It’s what Jeremy Pruitt was brought to Knoxville to fix.

This weekend’s results were no surprise for Tennessee fans, but it serves as a cold reminder of what Pruitt inherited — and how far he has to go in his rebuild in Knoxville.