Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel has a definite reputation on the recruiting trail.

And it’s a reputation he’s worked decades to create.

Recruiting is all about relationships and trust. Heupel is great at both — specifically the trust factor, which is something that can be hard to gain on the recruiting trail.

Top recruits hear all kinds of promises during the recruiting process. Promises of playing time, what their role will be with the team, etc.

Tennessee had a coach in Butch Jones from 2013 to 2017 that was exposed for making promises to recruits that he couldn’t keep. Fortunately for Vols fans, they’ll never have to worry about that same situation coming up with Heupel.

That’s because Heupel is well known as a coach who is honest, trustworthy, and keeps his promises.

2023 five-star offensive lineman Francis Mauigoa spoke to VolQuest on Sunday about his trip to Tennessee this weekend. Mauigoa pointed out that his uncle was teammates with Heupel in college. And his uncle had some great things to say about UT’s head coach.

“My uncle was teammates [with Heupel] in Utah at…I forgot the name of the school,” said Mauigoa. “With that connection, I can talk to my uncle about him. He’s told me nothing but great things about him. He told me that whatever he (Heupel) says is what he do [sic].”

Programs aren’t going to land many recruits without trust. In fact, in this new world of NIL deals for players, trust is even more important. And it doesn’t sound like recruits are going around questioning Heupel’s trustworthiness.

Mauigoa, who plans to return to Knoxville for another visit later this summer, also told VolQuest that Tennessee has something “special” going right now.

“They’re going to do some really big things this year and next year…here in Knoxville is a special place,” said Mauigoa.

Heupel has created an incredible atmosphere at Tennessee. There are no gimmicks or quick fixes. Heupel and his staff are organically creating something that will last on Rocky Top. And that’s why I think the success we’re seeing the Vols have lately is sustainable.

Featured image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK