The last time Butch Jones stood before the media to talk about Tennessee football, he had only been in Knoxville for about four hours and was still learning his way from the football offices to Neyland Stadium.
Today, Jones will unveil a hastily assembled first signing class that includes at least nine players who committed after the new coaching staff came on board in December.
Because so many of the prospects Tennessee has targeted were originally committed elsewhere, this will be a busier National Signing Day than usual. Tennessee is still watching at least seven prospects, including at least four who have formal announcements planned for today.
As of Tuesday evening, the Vols were ranked 28th nationally and 11th in the SEC in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings, which uses a formula to average the rankings of all major recruiting sites.
A strong finish could push the Vols into the top 25 nationally and perhaps as high as eighth or ninth in the SEC.
1. Will Tennessee sign the maximum amount of players in this class?
Unless the Vols have a few more surprise players that they plan to unveil today, probably not. Teams are limited by NCAA and SEC rules to 25 signees per year, but the Vols undersigned last year and so will be able to "count back" two of their early enrollees. That means UT could sign up to 27.
It's unlikely Tennessee will reach that mark. The Vols enter today with 18 commitments. Defensive end Joe Sanders of LaGrange, Ga., was unlikely to sign with UT because of academic concerns and that became a reality when it was confirmed late Tuesday by govols247.com.
Coaches will be closely watching as many as seven players, so UT would have to land every target to fill up the class. A class of 22-24 is more likely.
That's not the worst thing, as it will allow coaches some flexibility this summer in case there are any late qualifiers or surprise arrivals. It also means coaches probably won't have to sweat the 85-man overall scholarship limit come August.
2. What areas of need did coaches successfully address?
Tennessee will add at least four receivers and two defensive backs and a handful of guys who could play either position. The Vols also added two tight ends, including a junior college player, to ease any concerns about that position in 2014.
Receiver could shift from an area of concern to an area of unexpected wealth in 2013, although the majority of the players will be in their first or second year in the program.
Similarly, there should be plenty of competition in the defensive backfield, which was one of the weakest points in the Vols' league-worst defense.
Receiver MarQuez North appears to be the most likely to find immediate playing time.
If the Vols can land five-star safety Vonn Bell, he would instantly become the most-watched player in camp this August.
3. Where do the Vols wish they had added more depth?
Former coach Derek Dooley's staff loaded up on offensive linemen in 2011, so they chose not to sign any in 2012. That made it important to land some big bodies this season. Instead, it appears the Vols will only sign three offensive lineman.
Dan Skipper, a longtime UT commitment, defected to Arkansas, where he was recruited by former UT line coach Sam Pittman. Junior college prospect Chongo Kondolo chose Nebraska over the Vols.
Tennessee has four senior starters this year, so the numbers crunch won't be felt until 2014. Expect the Vols to target juco players to balance out the class next year.
4. Of the roughly seven players still on the board, who is Tennessee most likely to get, and what players do the Vols need the most?
Let's start with the obvious: From a perception standpoint, if nothing else, signing an elite national prospect like Bell would be a huge boost. He also happens to play at a position where he can make an immediate impact.
In the non-Bell division, running back Johnathan "Rudy" Ford would be a huge catch for the Vols, even after coaches extended a late offer to former East Carolina commitment Jabo Lee, which he accepted Monday night. Ford says he's already made up his mind, but is saving his announcement for today. Most believe he'll sign with Auburn, although no one's counted him out.
Who are the Vols most likely to get? Defensive lineman Jaylen Miller has been considered a UT lean for weeks, and it would be a stunner if he went elsewhere. Defensive end Malik Brown is down to UT or Syracuse, which seems like an easy choice, but he's been committed to the Orange (the New York variety) for nearly two months.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.