Butch Jones: Tennessee's Recruiting Will Thrive Under Newly Hired Head Coach

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 29: Head coach Butch Jones of the Cincinnati Bearcats hugs receiver Damon Julia #16 after his team defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 27-24 at FedExField on September 29, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Frank Sinatra's sentiment in "New York, New York" when he croons "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere" applies to recruiting elite high school football players to come play ball in the Big East.

If a coach is successful bringing talent into a Big East program year after year, they can do it anywhere.

That's especially true in the case of the new head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, Butch Jones.

Jones spent three years at the helm of the Cincinnati Bearcats, convincing players that they absolutely wanted to come play for a football team that often struggled to fill the roughly 35,000 seats that make up Nippert Stadium.

His range was far-reaching, pulling recruits from states that are widely considered to be the breeding grounds of the best high school football players in the country.

It wasn't only Ohio, where Cincinnati appealed to those who wanted to stay close to home. He landed recruits from Florida, California and Georgia,

If he could do that at Cincinnati, a program that can point to recent success but doesn't have the storied history of the elite programs in the nation, imagine what he'll be able to do at Tennessee.

There's the allure of playing in the SEC, unquestionably home to the best college football programs in the country.

He's got Tennessee's storied history to point to: the six national championships, the 16 conference titles, the 38 consensus All-Americans and countless NFL players who have called themselves Volunteers.

Jones is keeping at least one member of the Volunteers' coaching staff—and a key figure in their recruiting efforts—on his staff as well, according to WNML AM's afternoon sports host, Jimmy Hyams:

UT coach Butch Jones is keeping RB coach Jay Graham but not OC jim chaney or OL coach sam pittman. Jones still considering Darin Hinshaw

— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) December 8, 2012

Assuming that he's going to stick to the offensive system that has worked for him in Cincinnati, he can point to the up-tempo offense that the Volunteers will be running, one that features receivers spread wide.

Last, but certainly not least, he's got Neyland Stadium.

For the first time in his career, Jones can walk into a recruit's home, look him in the eye and say, "Son, how would you like to play in front of more than 102,000 fans all cheering for you?"

Or he could save himself the trouble and just show them this.

If that doesn't get a potential recruit fired up, nothing will.

It may be a year or two before Tennessee sees the fruits of Jones' efforts on the recruiting trail, but considering the job he did for the Bearcats, there's reason to get excited about what he'll be able to do for the Volunteers.


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