Jimmy’s blog: Pruitt likes recruiting multisport athletes

By Jimmy Hyams

Jeremy Pruitt played every sport he could when he was growing up.

While many of today’s athletes focus on one sport, the Tennessee coach, at times, focuses on how versatile a prospect is during recruiting.

“Absolutely, I like guys that play everything,’’ Pruitt said Thursday during an interview on SportsTalk, WNML radio. “I tried to play everything I could when I was in high school.

“A guy that’s a defensive back that plays point guard on the basketball team, it means he’s probably got really good hands, or plays centerfield on the baseball team.’’

Pruitt said most guys that run track are “self motivated because track is such an individualized sport.’’

Pruitt added: “I enjoy recruiting guys that play lots of sports. Now we’re going to recruit the best guys, and they probably come in all different scenarios, guys that are multisport or play one sport.’’

Pruitt and his staff have been hamstrung to a degree in the recruiting process. While coaches can contact recruits with phone calls or text messages, recruits can’t visit a campus nor can coaches visit the prospect – an edict that doesn’t end until at least May 31.

“When you don’t get a chance to spring recruit,’’ Pruitt said, “you don’t get a chance to see guys during spring ball. So you got to do a really good job looking at game tape and do a nice job of evaluating.’’

When Pruitt first arrived at Tennessee, he was reluctant to make offers to prospects who didn’t attend a Tennessee camp for evaluation.

Does Pruitt think camp evaluation is better than game-tape evaluation?

“I would say if you’re talking about going from college to pro,’’ Pruitt said, “I’d say game tape is the most important thing. Most guys have maximized their potential at that point.

“When you’re talking about high school kids, there’s such a difference in competition at different levels, a difference in ages. A 15-year-old and 18-year-old, there’s a big difference (but) not as much 18 to 21-year-old.

“When you look at high school, some guys might have played only one year of high school football or might have played since (they were) 5. They may play three sports or may only play one. There’s lots of variables that go into the evaluating process of a high school recruit.

“Getting them on campus is very valuable, so you can get some idea of testing numbers.

“I’d say it probably differs from college to pro and high school to college.”

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