Insider Mailing: 2018 National Signing Day Edition

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    Photo Credit: Anne Newman/RTI

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    We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.

    “Why did the Vols miss out on so many of their top guys on NSD? I mean it felt like they missed on everyone.” – Thomas

    Nathanael: To me, it all has to do with relationships and what Pruitt and his staff had to recruit against. As Pruitt himself talked about, they weren’t able to get as many of the players on campus as they wanted, and most of the ones that did visit only visited once. Plus, it’s hard to recruit at a high level to a school coming off a 4-8 season and an 0-8 conference record, especially when two of your three main rivals just fought for a national title. All in all, Wednesday was highly disappointing just from the fact that Vol fans had to sit and watch player after player choose another team other than Tennessee. But I wouldn’t judge Pruitt and his staff too harshly on this class. Let’s see what they can do on the field and in the 2019 class as well.

    Will: They swung for the fences a year after going 4-8. You’re not going to hit a home run every time. That being said, landing JJ Peterson is one. And Tennessee fans shouldn’t overlook just how big his commitment is. I get the feeling that missing out on top prospects won’t be a routine for this staff.

    “What are the chances Brandon Davis and Trevon Flowers play baseball as well?” – Zach

    Nathanael: I’d say the chances Flowers plays is pretty high. I’m not so sure about Davis, but I’m fairly certain Flowers is being brought on to play both football and baseball. I think there’s a pretty good chance both play both sports.

    Will: We haven’t received official word yet from UT, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I’d expect a release if so in the near future.

    “Curious to know what people you may be hearing about possible targets that are left available as far as class of 2018. Grads or JUCO for securing up the DB position.” – Kenny

    Nathanael: I’ve not heard anything really about any grad transfer corners right now, and I’m not sure about any leftover players in recruiting. Butch Jones was able to snag a couple players like that late in classes before. If I remember correctly, both Joe Young in the 2015 class and Tim Jordan in the 2017 class (both running backs) ended up being late additions to the class. But the Vols are still in on Keller Chryst in terms of a grad transfer QB.

    Will: Pruitt seems pretty open to allowing JUCO guys to play early and often. I assume the same could be said about grad transfers. Tennessee could certainly still use a running back for next season. Other than than that, I’m not really sure.

    “How do you like the new coaching staff for Tennessee football?” – @JrizzleSizzle

    Nathanael: They finally officially announced the coaching staff yesterday, and I like it. We more or less knew everyone on it and what role they were going to play, but now we know for certain. I’ll say that there are plenty of question marks with the staff because both Pruitt’s coordinators are first-time coordinators at Power Five schools, but I trust Tyson Helton as OC and think both Pruitt’s co-DCs will be fine because Pruitt will control that side of the ball anyway. I like the championship caliber the staff has and all the SEC experience they have not only as coaches, but also as former players. It’s a staff full of potential, but there are definite question marks. I’m going to be cautiously optimistic, though.

    Will: They’ve got SEC ties across the board. That can’t be overstated enough. On the last staff, Gillespie and Thigpen were really the only ones with lots of SEC experience. It appears to be a who’s who of young, up and coming SEC assistants from across the conference. I think that’s a good sign.

    “I’m gonna stay away from the recruiting…What do you think the chances are the Vol basketball team gets a 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA tournament?” – Brent

    Nathanael: I’ll go ahead and say that I’ll be shocked if Tennessee gets a No. 1 seed. Stunned, in fact. That would require the Vols to probably win out in the regular season or maybe suffer just one more loss, and it would definitely require them to win the SEC Tournament. And they haven’t done that since 1979. I think a No. 2 seed is much more likely, but I would still say that’s fairly low. I just don’t know if the Vols will be able to do enough in the SEC Tournament to get it. I think they end up with a No. 3 seed, and that’s still extremely good.

    Will: A three seed seems like the most common landing spot for this team at the moment. If they’re able to win out, there’s a chance they could snag a two based on a good run in the SEC Tournament. But unless they win out, including a an SEC Tournament Championship, they won’t be a one seed.