A lot has been said about the atmosphere at Neyland Stadium during the Tennessee Vols‘ loss to the Ole Miss Rebels last month.
For most of the game, the crowd at Neyland was electric. It was one of the best college football crowds I’ve seen all season — maybe the best.
Unfortunately for Tennessee, the electric atmosphere was tainted by a group of fans that decided to pelt the field with trash in protest of poor officiating and questionable injury timeouts.
National writers made the trash-throwing incident the main story of the game. And while it’s certainly a story, the incredible atmosphere for the other 59 minutes of the game is a story, too.
The good news for the Vols is that the way the atmosphere was viewed by national writers and by recruits is completely different. Recruits haven’t seemed phased by the trash-throwing incident. In fact, they don’t appear to even view it as a negative.
2023 four-star quarterback Marcel Reed, 6-foot-1/165 lbs from Nashville (Montgomery Bell Academy), recently spoke to VolQuest about his visit to Tennessee for the Ole Miss game.
And he didn’t sound like a recruit who was scared away by a fan base deemed by the national media as “petulant”.
“There were a lot of people there and even at the end of the game when they started throwing stuff, the fans just love the team and it was nothing bad that the recruits saw,” said Reed to VolQuest. “We didn’t really think of it as a bad thing or that they were bad people.”
Throwing things on the field at any sporting event is never wise. It could cause injury, it slows down gameplay, and it could potentially cause the home team to forfeit the game. I think most folks are on the same page with all of that.
Fortunately for the Vols, nothing that happened at the end of the Ole Miss game made a negative impact on recruiting. Within the context of the future of UT football, the opinions of recruits are all that matter.
Featured image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports