Tennessee swung and missed on Charlie Strong and Mike Gundy, but early results suggest that the Vols ultimately found the right man for the job when they hired ex-Cincinnati coach Butch Jones.
Jones’ early success on the recruiting trail is a reflection of the new enthusiasm that he’s brought to Knoxville. Last week Jones secured a commitment from 5-star running back Jalen Hurd (Beech HS, Hendersonville, TN.), who joined a group of 2014 Tennessee commits that already included a consensus 4-star prospect in safety Todd Kelly Jr.
In spite of those gains, the Vols new head man is not letting up on the recruiting trail. ESPN.com’s Recruiting Nation reports that Jones recently sent 102 letters to Stanton Truitt, an athlete prospect out of Monroe, Georgia. In making the bold move, Jones mimicked Alabama coach Nick Saban, who sent 150 letters to eventual Alabama signee Alvin Kamara.
“It was shocking and it shows me that they think highly of me and really love me,” Truitt said (via ESPN). “It makes me feel important to them and makes me want to work harder and keep doing what I have been doing.”
Truitt ran for 1,420 yards and 18 touchdowns last season while adding an additional 812 yards and nine touchdowns through the air. You can see him doing work in his highlight reel below (football clips start at :36 seconds):
Recruiting is an inexact science, and it will be awhile before we find out if any these guys can be real playmakers at the next level (or if they actually sign with the Vols next February). However, it’s good to see Jones doing his part to bring one of college football’s most historic programs back to relevancy in the SEC.