One of the biggest concerns that fans and analysts had about Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel this year was whether or not he could recruit at a high level.

Heupel’s best class at UCF was ranked No. 60 in the country — not exactly inspiring.

But the former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback quickly proved the doubters wrong. The Vols had a strong close to the 2022 early signing period, finishing with the No. 15 ranked class in the nation.

By comparison, Florida had the No. 50 ranked class in the nation, while the Lane Kiffin-led Ole Miss Rebels had the No. 25 ranked class in the nation.

In other words, it’s clear that Heupel is going to be just fine when it comes to recruiting in the SEC.

Rivals national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright seems to agree.

Wright recently graded the SEC signing classes and he gave Heupel and the Vols a “B+”.

Here’s what Wright had to say:

If there was a ranking for how strongly a team closed for the Early Signing Period, the Volunteers would be in the top five. Burning the midnight oil, Tennessee’s staff spent November and part of December bringing top targets on campus for official visits and hit the streets stopping at schools while making in-home visits.

The max effort paid off signing 20 including seven four-stars and 13 three-star players. Like Kentucky, Tennessee may have room to add more players on the first Wednesday of February.

I think this grade is spot on. Tennessee doesn’t deserve an “A” because there’s still a lot of room for improvement. And the Vols did miss on a couple of players they were targeting.

But all things considered, Heupel and his staff did an incredible job of landing a class that should be the foundation of Tennessee’s return to relevancy in the SEC East.

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