The days of Peyton Manning or national relevancy have been gone for some time in Knoxville. The Tennessee Volunteers haven’t had a 10-win season since 2007. They haven’t seriously been a contender for the National Championship since 2001, when they were ranked #2 before losing to LSU in the SEC Championship. Remember when Lane Kiffin said he was going to turn the program around and claimed they would beat Florida in 2009? Many people in Knoxville want to forget about that. The recruiting class of 2014 just may make the Volunteers contenders again.
It all starts with the commitments of running back Jalen Hurd and safety Todd Kelly Jr., two of the top five recruits from the state of Tennessee. Not only did they rake in in-state talent, but they were able to move into other SEC schools’ territory, snagging Gavin Bryant, one of the top linebackers in the nation, who’s from Alabama. They’ve also been able to get guys from other SEC states such as Georgia and Florida. They’ve also broadened their search to states to the north, with guys from Ohio, D.C., Virginia, and Illinois in the class of 2014.
ESPN has the Vols recruiting class ranked at number six in the nation, and Rivals has the class at number three in the country. While Alabama may currently boast the country’s second best recruiting class, Tennessee has undoubtedly gotten some talent to come to their school and will be able to compete in the league for a couple of years. They will also be fighting for several top undecided recruits to push themselves up anybody’s class rankings. I doubt their current run of one-win seasons in SEC play will last for long.