By Josh Ward | @Josh_Ward
Lovie Jenkins saw it coming.
Jenkins, a defensive back who committed to Tennessee on June 12, said recently that several more recruits were about to join him in the Vols’ 2020 class.
Jenkins’s confidence came from a chat he said he had with Tennessee defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley.
“Coach Ansley told me it’s going to be crazy the next few weeks,” Jenkins said during an interview on June 17.
Since then, Tennessee has received commitments from four-star offensive lineman Cooper Mays, four-star defensive back Keshawn Lawrence and three-star running back Tee Hodge. Two other prospects in the 2021 class have also pledged to the Vols.
The commitments from Hodge, Lawrence and Mays also help bolster Tennessee’s in-state recruiting, which is a big priority for the staff after the Vols missed on several prospects from inside the state in the 2019 class.
The recruiting momentum comes at a good time for Tennessee, which missed on several prospects it had hoped to land in the month of May.
The month of June has been much more productive for the Vols. They’ve seen their commitment total for the 2020 class double from six to 12 since June 1, helping quiet concerns about the state of the Vols’ recruiting.
Tennessee still has plenty of work to do. The Vols’ 2020 class currently ranks 20th in the nation and ninth in the SEC, which isn’t anywhere close to where Tennessee hopes to finish when the recruiting cycle is completed in February.
The good news for Tennessee is the Vols are in contention for a long list of highly-touted prospects, including athlete Arik Gilbert, wide receiver Rakim Jarrett, quarterback Haynes King, offensive linemen Chris Morris and James Robinson and defensive linemen Jay Hardy and Omari Thomas. There are plenty more names where that came from.
Of course, being in contention is one thing. Landing them is what truly counts.
Tennessee’s recent success along with the coaching staff’s collective recruiting ability should create optimism moving forward.
One other thing that will matter: on-field results. The more games Tennessee can win this fall, the greater chance the Vols will have to land the top prospects they covet.
If Tennessee struggles again on the field this season? Well, the same could happen on the recruiting trail.
None of this would serve as a revelation to head coach Jeremy Pruitt. He knows what it takes to win in the SEC, and he knows how to recruit.
Tennessee’s recent run of commitments offers proof of the latter. That leads to the very popular question fans ask in the world of recruiting: Who’s next?