Butch Jones first National Signing Day as Tennessee’s new football coach went off with only minimal upheaval.
In the end, UT's signing class was ranked 29th in the nation by ESPN. Other services did have the Vols ranked slightly higher. Based on the ESPN rankings the Vols were 11th in the SEC, ahead of only Arkansas, Kentucky, and Missouri.
The biggest loss for the Vols was 5-star Vonn Bell, of Rossville, Ga., who signed with Ohio State. The safety was a highly regarded prospect at a position in which the Vols have a significant need.
Three other players announced their decision in favor of the Vols today:
Three-star defensive linemen Jaylen Miller and Malik Brown, and four-star quarterback Joshua Dobbs all chose UT over other suitors. Dobbs had previously been committed to Arizona State.
Although the Vols failed to sign the big-name running back the coaching staff desired, they did manage to flip East Carolina commit Jabo Lee, a 3-star all-purpose back from South Carolina. At 5-10 and 180lbs, Lee clearly lacks the size of typical SEC backs, but RB Coach Jay Graham describes him as a winner with good vision and a nose for the end zone.
The 2013 signing class consists of five early enrollees and 16 National Signing Day additions. The class features players from eight different states, including six from Tennessee, four from Georgia and three from Florida. North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Ohio, and Maryland were also represented in the 2013 class.
From a leisurely perusal of the rankings, the casual observer may determine that National Signing Day was just one more step down the road of mediocrity for the Tennessee football program,
But, Coach Jones scrambled to assemble a staff and hold onto previous commitments, and make some new ones. He has a record of success on the field and as a recruiter and should be given the benefit of the doubt at this stage. Ultimately the ranking for this signing class will be determined in four years.