ESPN+: Tennessee football recruiting surprise of the SEC

ESPN+ has high praise for the Tennessee football Volunteers when it comes to recruiting.

Even with the recent flip of Kamar Wilcoxson, Tennessee football still has a top three 2021 class across every major recruiting service. The Vols are also easily the highest ranked team in the SEC, with only the Florida Gators, whom Wilcoxson committed to, threatening.

As a result, there is still a lot of hype behind what Jeremy Pruitt is building in Knoxville, and reporters and analyst continue to take notice. An article by Tom VanHaaren of ESPN+ listed Rocky Top’s class for 2021 as the recruiting surprise of the SEC.

VanHaaren was touting classes off to a hot start, and with 23 commitments, there’s no doubt that Tennessee football certainly has one of those. In addition to sheer volume, VanHaaren noted that this is the highest UT has been ranked in June since 2016 and that the focus now should be on maintaining the ranking, which could be difficult.

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While it is true that the Vols will have a tough time moving up with new commitments and also have the daunting task of making sure none of their current commitments change their mind, it’s also true that they are targeting even more talent. As a result, their class could get even better, even though it won’t catch the Ohio State Buckeyes.

After all, UT’s 2020 class was better on National Signing Day than it was in June of the previous year. The same was true in 2019. Those are the only two recruiting classes for the Vols that Jeremy Pruitt worked on the whole time.

Coming off a top 10 class, it’s also worth noting that UT’s recruiting classes have gotten better each year under Pruitt. As a result, Vol fans have plenty of reason to be excited about what he is doing on the trail this early for 2021, and if they show dramatic improvement in the season, it could even get better.

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Part of what Pruitt is doing is re-establishing Tennessee football’s pipelines into Georgia and Alabama. He won’t out-recruit the Bulldogs, Crimson Tide or Auburn Tigers in those states, but if he can get just enough from each of them while holding on to top-talent in Nashville and Memphis, he is proving the Vols can build an elite class that way.