Tennessee head football coach Josh Heupel has had a nice offseason on the recruiting trail. The Vols currently have the No. 7 recruiting class in America and the No. 2 class in the SEC, behind only defending national champion Georgia. We all know getting great players is incredibly important in college football, but just in case you wanted crystal clear proof that recruiting is possibly the most important aspect of the entire sport, look at this tweet from CFB analyst Dave Bartoo…
This century's top 11 recruiters have 20 of the 22 national titles. Exception Dabo and @ClemsonFB— Dave Bartoo (@CFBMatrix) July 19, 2022
The top 16 (Clemson is #16) have all of them
The top 17 have appeared in 43 of 44 NC games
The only top 17 teams to not make it so far – Texas A&M and Tennessee
The past 20 years of Tennessee football have had plenty of pain but this really makes all of those struggles just a bit worse. The Vols have had the talent to be legitimately elite but a mix of coaching incompetence (looking right at you, Butch Jones, with your two top-10 recruiting classes), a rudderless administration, and any number of other confounding factors have sent things off course. The only thing that makes this better at all is that UT is not the only SEC team in this extremely small, underachieving club.
But here’s the bright side: There’s no better time than now to turn this statistic around. If Heupel can hang on to his top-10 class and bring more upper-tier talent to his roster, the sky is the limit given how effective his offensive system is. Not to mention that Tennessee’s new athletics director seems to be the most competent administrator the Big Orange has had in quite some time. So, let’s learn from the past. Let’s actually utilize the talent that comes to Knoxville and make sure that UT never ends up in these kinds of brutal statistics ever again.
Featured image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK and MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL