Butch Jones has ‘sleeping giant' ready for National Signing Day
By Dustin Dopirak, Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee football coach Butch Jones chats with Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart at a UT basketball game. Photo by Adam Lau/News Sentinel
KNOXVILLE (News Sentinel) -
In his first two seasons at Tennessee, coach Butch Jones didn't spend a day in any Top 25 poll. He has a 12-13 record and signature wins this past season came against two teams — South Carolina and Iowa — that finished with identical records to Tennessee's 7-6.
But after Wednesday, Jones will almost certainly have back-to-back top 10 signing classes to his name, evidence that no coach in the country is having more success selling a rebuilding project to recruits.
Heading into National Signing Day, the first day for high school football recruits can sign a Letter of Intent, the Vols have the No. 4 ranked class in the country according to 247Sports.com after posting the No. 7 ranked class in 2014. College Football Playoff participants Alabama and Florida State are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, followed by Southern Cal, annually one of the nation's best recruiting programs. The Vols are ahead of national champion Ohio State (No. 7), runner-up Oregon (No. 15), and every program in the SEC East. The only other team with a top 10 class that posted fewer than eight wins this season is No. 9 Texas.
The Vols currently have four five-star and 11-four-star recruits among 28 commitments and there is still a possibility for movement Wednesday. The Vols have a chance to secure four-star offensive tackle Drew Richmond. The Memphis native committed to Ole Miss on Sept. 9, but visited Tennessee last Saturday. He reportedly decommitted late Monday and is expected to sign with the Vols.