The Tennessee Volunteers once again claimed the Rivals.com No. 1 overall ranking for the 2014 high school recruiting class with the recent commitment of linebacker Dillon Bates. Bates is a four-star prospect that ranks as the No. 3 outside linebacker, No. 6 player in the state of Florida and the No. 59 overall player in the nation for the upcoming senior class.
The 6-foot-3, 207-pound prospect is the latest gem of first-year head coach Butch Jones’ 2014 recruiting class. The former Cincinnati coach has managed to work wonders to improve the Tennessee football program since his hire in December 2012.
Despite not having even coached a single play thus far, Jones has managed to win over the fan base beginning with an impressive introductory press conference. Calling the Tennessee football head coaching position his “dream job”, Jones managed to impress a large population of the Volunteer fan base that had longed for a coach with a “bigger name” with a greater reputation.
His ability to salvage a depleted 2013 recruiting class in just two months created even more recognition amongst Vols fans, as Tennessee managed to finish with the No.21 overall recruiting class.
But, Jones has brought an even greater level of optimism amongst the Tennessee fan base with his first full-year recruiting class. The Vols, who have been out-recruited by fellow SEC teams in recent years, find themselves at the top of the recruiting food chain even before Jones’ first full season in Knoxville begins.
Bates is the commitment in a class that includes seven four-star prospects and 18 total players. The first step to rebuilding a college football program is changing its identity and recruiting well.
Jones has managed to do both during his first few months with the Tennessee football program. He has created a new identity with his use of social media and has dominated the recruiting trail thus far.
Obviously, his tenure in Knoxville will truly be judged by his ability to coach and win games during the regular season and eventually the postseason. However, the job Jones has done during his first seven months at the University of Tennessee have been outstanding and deserve a great deal of recognition.