Tennessee landed yet another commitment on Monday, bringing in three-star tight end Miles Campbell to the already stacked class of 2021. The group now features 22 commitments as the Volunteers have ridden a tidal wave of momentum to the No. 2 spot in 247Sports’ class rankings.
Five-star defenders Terrence Lewis and Dylan Brooks really got the ball rolling for Tennessee. Four-star defensive back Kamar Wilcoxson, four-star running back Cody Brown, four-star receiver Julian Nixon and four-star tackle Colby Smith quickly followed. Before you knew it, the Vols added three more four-star prospects — quarterback Kaidon Salter, defensive tackle Katron Evans and linebacker Aaron Willis.
Tennessee finished the season strong after a 2-5 start, reeling off six straight wins to pick up a Gator Bowl victory over Indiana in Jacksonville. That surprising finish opened some eyes, and got Jeremy Pruitt back on the right track on the recruiting trail.
In an appearance on SiriusXM, Pruitt pointed towards his staff for Tennessee’s recruiting success.
"We know what greatness looks like."@CoachJPruitt explained to @PeterBurnsESPN and @ChrisDoering how @Vol_Football has been so successful on the recruiting trail. pic.twitter.com/VAS3GGcwqm— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) May 18, 2020
“We know what great looks like as a staff,” Pruitt told Peter Burns and Chris Doering on SEC This Morning. “We’ve hired a staff full of guys that understand that. When it comes to player development and relationships with the guys in their room, I feel like we have one of the best coaching staffs in the entire country.”
Pruitt reworked his staff to begin the offseason, getting younger and perhaps a little more hungry. Veterans Tracy Rocker and Chris Rumph moved on to other opportunities, allowing Pruitt to bring in Jimmy Brumbaugh and Shelton Felton. Kevin Sherrer’s departure opened the door for stud recruiter Brian Niedermeyer to move to inside linebackers, which in turn allowed Joe Osovet to come down to coach the tight ends.
So far, at least on the trail, it’s tough to argue with the results. Still, Pruitt also credits his players for being his best recruiters.
“Our players see that,” speaking of his coaching staff being one of the best in the country. “They believe that, and there’s no better recruiters than the players in our program. You can see it and you can feel it. Kind of the passion, the vibe, the confidence that’s kind of going through our program. Our players are selling that.”
Tennessee currently has just a handful of spots left in their 2021 class. Five-star tackle Amarius Mims and five-star linebacker Smael Mondon are the two likely biggest targets left on the board for the Volunteers. Expect them to get pretty picky with these last few spots.
While the Volunteers have some progress to make on the field, they’re taking all the right steps to get back in contention for the SEC East sooner rather than later.