A look at Butch Jones' recruiting at UT position by position
Butch Jones has seen immediate success on the recruiting trail for Tennessee. The second-year coach managed to successfully salvage a depleted 2013 class, despite holding the head coaching position for just two months.
Jones signed a top-5 class during his first full season and is on pace to continue that success in 2015. Here’s a look at Jones’ recruiting by position.
QUARTERBACK: Jones’ biggest get in his first official recruiting class was current starter Joshua Dobbs. Dobbs rated as a four-star pro-style quarterback, despite also possessing a dual-threat ability. Jones has earned commitments from four-star dual-threat quarterback Jauan Jennings and three-star pro-style QB Quinten Dormady.
RUNNING BACK: Jalen Hurd’s commitment in 2013 marked Tennessee’s momentum shift on the recruiting trail. The Vols beat out several national powerhouses to sign the Hendersonville native and Tennessee high school record holder. The Vols are also expecting big production from four-star JUCO transfer Alvin Kamara in 2015.
WIDE RECEIVER: Re-earning Marquez North’s commitment in 2013 to Tennessee was one of Jones’ first victories on the recruiting trail. In each season since, the Vols have earned commitments from top pass catchers, including five-star Josh Malone and four-star JUCO transfer Von Pearson in 2014 and five-star Preston Williams in 2015.
TIGHT END: Tennessee signed two tight ends in 2014. Ethan Wolf became the first true freshman to open the season starting at the position. Daniel Helm saw playing time, but opted to transfer at the end of the regular season. The Vols currently have a commitment from three-star Kyle Oliver to fill the void left by Helm’s departure.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Tennessee’s best lineman prospect in 2014 was JUCO transfer Dontavius Blair, who redshirted despite a lack of depth and struggles in the trenches. The Vols look to add more help to the ailing unit with four-star Jack Jones, among others in 2015.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Even entering as a four-star prospect, Derek Barnett still exceeded expectations as Tennessee’s first true freshman to open the season as a starting defensive end. The former Brentwood Academy standout set freshman school records with 20.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. The Vols continue to add talent on the defensive line with the commitments of five-star Kahlil McKenzie (No. 1 defensive tackle) and four-star Shy Tuttle.
LINEBACKER: Jalen Reeves-Maybin was a member of Jones’ 2013 recruiting class. After leading Tennessee in special teams tackles (11) as a freshman, Reeves-Maybin enjoyed a breakout season in 2014 with 88 tackles. The Vols are expecting a similar output from Dillon Bates in his second season, despite limited action in 2014 due to a season-ending injury.
DEFENSIVE BACK: Three-star athlete Cameron Sutton saw immediate playing time in 2013 and has started in every game at cornerback since. Safety Todd Kelly Jr. and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley both earned solid playing time during their freshman seasons in 2014 and should see expanded roles as sophomores. Four-star Michah Abernathy is Tennessee’s top cornerback commit for 2015.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Freshman Aaron Medley was solid in his first season as the Vols’ place kicker. Medley went 19-of-25 for a 76 field goal percentage, ranking seventh in the SEC. Tennessee has commitments from three-star punter Tommy Townsend and two-star long snapper Riley Lovingood.