Butch Jones has been named the next head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers (via ESPN), and it's a move that will certainly have an impact in the realm of college football recruiting. After the disappointment of the Derek Dooley era, Tennessee fans have to be hoping that Jones' impact will be a positive one.
How will this hiring effect recruiting? As with any hire, there will be short-term and long-term implications.
In the short term, this is great for Tennessee recruiting. The constant theme from me during these coaching searches is that uncertainty is the worst thing for a program's recruiting efforts, and Tennessee was not immune to that.
If recruits don't know who their head coach will be, they essentially don't have a blueprint of what their next three to four years of football will look like. That makes a program extremely unattractive from a recruiting standpoint.
Now that Tennessee has hired Jones, it can, at the very least, get him in touch with members of its current 2013 recruiting class, and that will go a long way towards keeping those commitments intact. Jones will bring a new found sense of excitement and vision to the Tennessee program. He'll also bring a sense of stability to the head coach position that hasn't been there for a while.
This will also pay dividends when it comes to bringing in more recruits in the here and now. There are a couple of elite recruits that have Tennessee near the top of their interest lists, and now that Jones has been hired, perhaps that will help sway them in Tennessee's favor.
The two main recruits who Jones will want to focus on right off the bat are 5-star safety Vonn Bell and 4-star wide receiver MarQuez North. Both are marquee recruits who would be gigantic wins for Jones if he can bring them into the fold. Bell has the Volunteers in his top three, along with Ohio State and Alabama, and North has Tennessee in his top two with North Carolina, according to 247Sports.
How about the long-term impact?
Much of that will be determined by the success that Jones has in his first year with Tennessee, but at the very least, he's coming in with a great track record. This will be Jones' first big-time college football job, but he was very successful at both Central Michigan and Cincinnati. He'll be entering his first year at Tennessee with a 50-27 overall record as a head coach.
Future recruits can expect to see an exciting brand of offense from Jones' teams that will most likely feature a strong running game, according to Daniel Lewis of Nooga.com:
Jones emphasizes the run game in his attack. The Bearcats averaged nearly 200 yards on the ground per game this season. His running back in 2010 and 2011, Isaiah Pead, was a second-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2011. George Winn, his running back this season, rushed for 1,204 yards. Quarterback Munchie Legaux added 335 yards on the ground.
There are elements of the vertical passing game in Jones’ offense as well that he picked up from Kelly. He likes to stretch the field at times, but a lot of his offense has more of a West Coast feel to it – meaning he relies on wide receivers running shorter, more precise routes rather than pushing the ball deep. That’s one fundamental shift Tennessee fans might notice.
Lewis also brought up the fact that Jones likes to normally run an offense that has the receivers spread out, is fast-paced and will feature a no-huddle.
If this offensive scheme works, and there isn't much reason to believe that it won't, Tennessee would be a huge draw for future recruits, especially elite ones on the offensive side of the ball.
Even though SEC football will always be characterized by strong defenses and power running, we've seen versions of the spread offense be effective in the conference (Texas A&M beating Alabama is a great example), so if Jones' scheme takes off, Tennessee could become a major draw for offensive recruits. Good defenders know that a great offense only serves to help the defense, so that should have an impact on both sides of the ball.
Overall, this is a great signing for Tennessee recruiting.
It now has stability at the head coach position, which will impact 2013 recruiting, and Jones' offensive scheme could lead to some very exciting football in the Volunteers' future.
That's all good for recruiting, and hopefully for Tennessee, this will be the start of a very exciting era.
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