Butch Jones says Vols were 'selective'

Tennessee's head football coach Butch Jones and the signing class for 2013.

Tennessee's head football coach Butch Jones and the signing class for 2013.

Butch Jones' opening statements on Signing Day 2013

Evan Woodbery wraps up Tennessee's signing day

First-year Tennessee football coach Butch Jones managed to hide the long hours on the road, the lack of sleep, the ice storms that played havoc with recruiting weekends and the gut-wrenching final decisions that went down to the final moment.

On Wednesday, he managed a smile.

Jones said he was happy with the 21-man recruiting class he unveiled on National Signing Day, even if it wasn’t as full as he might have hoped.

“There’s a process you go through with the first recruiting class,” Jones said at a news conference at Stokely Family Media Center in Neyland Stadium. “A lot of times, you’re restricted by time, so it gets back to relationships. The hourglass turned over on us, but I thought we made up a lot of ground.”

The Vols didn’t make up enough ground to break into the upper half of the SEC in recruiting rankings, nor was there enough time to lure five-star safety Vonn Bell, who signed with Ohio State.

But Jones said the class — which includes five early enrollees who stood up and introduced themselves during the news conference — addressed important needs at several positions and would help lay the foundation for future teams.

“Do they fit in? Do they fit the criteria we’re looking for? I think we were able to attract high-level character guys. That’s the foundation,” Jones said. “A lot of coaches say it. We’re going to live it every day in our program.”

Although the loss of Bell stung — and likely hurt the Vols in the final recruiting rankings — the new staff did land three other targets who announced decisions on Signing Day.

Three-star defensive linemen Jaylen Miller and Malik Brown and four-star quarterback Joshua Dobbs all chose UT over other suitors.

Dobbs had been committed to Arizona State for months, one of eight prospects that Jones flipped from other schools since his arrival Dec. 7.

The final recruiting rankings could still fluctuate, but as of Wednesday night, the Vols were 25th nationally in the 247 Composite, which averages the rankings of every major recruiting service. In the SEC, UT was ranked 11th, ahead of Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Missouri.

Tennessee could have signed as many as 27 players, and until recently it appeared that they planned to sign a full class. But while Jones added no surprise players to the signing list on Wednesday, he made it clear that his staff wasn’t done recruiting for 2013.

“We were extremely selective and we will continue to recruit,” Jones said. “It will be an ongoing process. If we can find a prospective student-athlete that fits the profile of what we want, we will recruit him.”

While the Vols met needs at receiver, defensive back and quarterback, they probably would have liked to add more linemen, especially on the offensive side of the ball. UT also struck out on big-name running backs, flipping East Carolina commitment Jabo Lee in the final days to fill the gap.

“Competing in the SEC, you feel you can never have enough offensive linemen and defensive linemen,” Jones said. “We would like to still continue to add to the line recruiting class.”

As for Lee, Jones said UT running backs coach Jay Graham kept in contact with the Dillon, S.C., prospect even after many teams shied away due to Lee’s season-ending injury.

“He missed much of his senior year, so we went back and watched his junior film, his sophomore film and we even watched some of his freshman year,” Jones said. “What we saw was an individual, that if he had the benefit of a full senior season, would have developed into one of the highest-ranking running backs in the country, and been very highly recruited.”

Jones said he expects the 16 new signees who aren’t already in Knoxville to join the team and enroll during the first summer academic period in June.

The Vols start spring football on March 9, and Jones said the next month won’t be any easier than the last two.

In addition to preparing for spring football and laying the groundwork for recruiting in 2014, Jones still wants to add a few more bodies to the class he just announced.

“It’s a balancing act, and it takes great time management,” he said.

After scrambling to assemble a class in the weeks since his arrival at UT, it’s a hurdle Jones is accustomed to.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.TennesseeBeat.com.

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Comments » 167

UTvols33 writes:

First! Go Vols!

tulelakevol writes:

Well....we will know in a couple of years how good this class really is.

voloffaith writes:

in response to UTvols33:

First! Go Vols!

Happy for you being first...happy for me being second? On topic, glad to see happy with what we got ,but realize it really doesn't matter if 2014,2015,etc aren't there and better.

voloffaith writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Happy for you being first...happy for me being second? On topic, glad to see happy with what we got ,but realize it really doesn't matter if 2014,2015,etc aren't there and better.

no I'm not....how about the joy of being third???
This much we know is we got some players who on paper meet some needs. Time will tell how well they translate at this next level.

iowa_vol writes:

Are we in a better situation that we were 6 weeks ago...with the coaching staff and with what Dooley had committed? Time will tell. I like that fact that Coach Jones was able to get in front of some top guys, sign some top guys. Too bad he couldn't close on Vonn Bell, but that groundwork was layed well before CJ arrived in Knoxville. I am excited for the future. Go Vols.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

I think this is a good haul, even though disappointed. More important in the equation, we must have coaches that can motivate and coach the players, unlike what has happened in the past 5-6 years. We have a top 20 recruiting class, which is very good considering. I think this coaching staff will develop these guys and we will gradually work our way back. Next year the recruiting success will be critical.

Orange_Beach writes:

in response to voloffaith:

no I'm not....how about the joy of being third???
This much we know is we got some players who on paper meet some needs. Time will tell how well they translate at this next level.

"Selective", really. Butch took what scraps he could after the big boys were done and Ewe know it. Same ole same ole. What about the need for running backs?

tennrich1 writes:

in response to Orange_Beach:

"Selective", really. Butch took what scraps he could after the big boys were done and Ewe know it. Same ole same ole. What about the need for running backs?

WARNING!!!! WARNING!!!!
SET-UP ALERT!!!!!!!!!!DO NOT RESPOND!!!
I'm sorry to respond but I took the bullet for the team..........

voloffaith writes:

in response to tennrich1:

WARNING!!!! WARNING!!!!
SET-UP ALERT!!!!!!!!!!DO NOT RESPOND!!!
I'm sorry to respond but I took the bullet for the team..........

Now what makes ya think that.....11 posts so far as new poster(new name same game)on January 21 this year and all negative VOL stuff except ManTei Tao comment.

AllVol1 writes:

The offense is reloaded--so long as these guys go to work. The defense got some help. Hopefully the guys coming back will play A LOT better in the 4-3. Looking forward to the spring.

Glad the signing day has finally come. Now the coaches can settle in, build relationships with juniors and sophomores, and prepare for spring.

To all the signees. Work hard fellas! We need you to give your all for Tennessee. This proud program has suffered a big slump. Thanks for joining the Vol Nation to help turn it around!

Vols!!

chaos001 writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Well....we will know in a couple of years how good this class really is.

Or not...

Vol1968 writes:

I'd rather have hard working 3 star rated guys then prima donna's who think there is an "I" in TEAM. Go VOls.

volfan007 writes:

I'm beginning to think that we either have a bunch of ignorant, whiney babies as supposed Vol fans; or, we've got some fake Vol fans coming into these sights and running thier mouths...running down UT.

If you're a true Vol fan, then be positive and cheer the Vols on, instead of being a negative drain on the team!!

Orange Beach, I'm beginning to think that you're a Gator fan....

tree_em_smokey writes:

At least we have plenty of qb's and recievers on our team that we can be selective with who starts for us!

traderjoe writes:

Dobbs is certainly a great recruit. Talent, brains, and character. Nothing to complain about here and the fact that we were able to steal him away from Arizona says someone on the staff can recruit and knows how to close a deal.

lavette12389 writes:

in response to volfan007:

I'm beginning to think that we either have a bunch of ignorant, whiney babies as supposed Vol fans; or, we've got some fake Vol fans coming into these sights and running thier mouths...running down UT.

If you're a true Vol fan, then be positive and cheer the Vols on, instead of being a negative drain on the team!!

Orange Beach, I'm beginning to think that you're a Gator fan....

I know right...I almost hate reading the comments because of all the negativity! Im sure firing everyone solves all the problems...not

laraccoon writes:

4 or 5 losing seasons in a row , how much did people really expect . given time to build relationships and win some games ,especially some of the ones Dooley blew with questionable coaching and we will land higher ranked recruiting classes . all in all i think Jones did well , only time will tell !

Geofffourmyle writes:

FIGHT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT FOR THE ORANGE AND WHITE!!!

Walt

UT '81

suggest_removal_4_all_troll_posts writes:

UT 2010: #9
UT 2011: #13
UT 2012: #17

Vandy 2010: #61
Vandy 2011: #70
Vandy 2012: #29

Vandy pretty much beat up on his with those inferior recruits. We'll be quite alright if this class is anywhere near it's #20 ranking.

BTW - for all the naysayers that say UT never had a class this bad -- 2006: #23 2008: #35

Our 2007: #3 made a list of most overrated classes.

Let's keep these kids in school and make 'em football playes over the next 4 years.

claiborneh writes:

I just listened to radio interview of Josh Dobbs. What a refreshing smart energetic interview from this bright young man who Im betting will be a star! Then the next interview was by Counzo Martin who sounded like Eyor on valium. It sounded like someone slowly turning a Charlie Brown/Peanuts record with his finger with trite talking points... Blah blaaaah. blahh.
Please BBB. Bring back energy

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

Whats with 1st stuff , probably ever school desk y'all set in , got your initials carved in it.

UT2006 writes:

no way to tell how good these young men are, if they will stay out of trouble and on the team or how they will pan out as college athletes, but all I can say is that on paper according to people who make a living making these lists, not too much to get excited about & once again we are in a wait and see mode... cant help but wonder if we would have had an Ole Miss kind of class if we had landed Coach Gruden

kyvol98 writes:

Right now, every team is 0-0.

3volfan writes:

Now get to work and please beat oregon florida bama georgia or south carolina next year!!!! This program NEEDS a big win!!

pcshowtime writes:

Well I wish CBJ would have selected us a SEC caliber running Back.

claiborneh writes:

Alabama #1 class 5 times out of 6 years.
3 out of 4 National Championships.
Please let's not debate anymore about how critical it is to get 4 and 5 stars.

wcirwin64#584242 writes:

in response to suggest_removal_4_all_troll_posts:

UT 2010: #9
UT 2011: #13
UT 2012: #17

Vandy 2010: #61
Vandy 2011: #70
Vandy 2012: #29

Vandy pretty much beat up on his with those inferior recruits. We'll be quite alright if this class is anywhere near it's #20 ranking.

BTW - for all the naysayers that say UT never had a class this bad -- 2006: #23 2008: #35

Our 2007: #3 made a list of most overrated classes.

Let's keep these kids in school and make 'em football playes over the next 4 years.

LOL. . I did the same thing:
'02 #2
'03 #18
'04 #20
'05 #4
'06 #23
'07 #3
'08 #35
'09 #10
'10 #9
'11 #13
'12 #17
'13 #20
Also, the rankings factor in pure # of players & not just *rankings. Had we just added 4 or 5 3* recruits we would have been in the top 15. Add bell and we're approaching top 10. I think this is a good solid class considering all the obstacles that had to be overcome. Also,don't forget the 3* invited walk-on lineman from Farragut & Charlie High, the walk-on QB from CAK. CBJ saved 5 or 6 scholarships to use for next year. All things considered, nice job !!

claiborneh writes:

Are Saban and Urban Meyer actually the best coaches or best recruiters. How good a coach is any coach if they play with the best recruits in the country. Isn't Saban supposed to win? Would he not be a poor coach if he can't win with the players he has?

utnsee#209595 writes:

guys the super rosters of San Francicso and Baltimore has 32 four stars or better out of high school and 34 three stars or less on their rosters. So star ratings don't rate the work ethic and heart of a recruit.

UTvols33 writes:

No trolls on this thread? This site might be worth keeping after all. I was getting discouraged. I hope coach Jones uses those remaining scholarships to get some quality JUCO guys. Maybe some linemen or RB's. There has got to be another gem like CP out there.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to volfan007:

I'm beginning to think that we either have a bunch of ignorant, whiney babies as supposed Vol fans; or, we've got some fake Vol fans coming into these sights and running thier mouths...running down UT.

If you're a true Vol fan, then be positive and cheer the Vols on, instead of being a negative drain on the team!!

Orange Beach, I'm beginning to think that you're a Gator fan....

You're correct on both counts. But of course, this doesn't mean everyone falls into these categories. G.B.O.!!!

SouthDakotaBob writes:

in response to UT2006:

no way to tell how good these young men are, if they will stay out of trouble and on the team or how they will pan out as college athletes, but all I can say is that on paper according to people who make a living making these lists, not too much to get excited about & once again we are in a wait and see mode... cant help but wonder if we would have had an Ole Miss kind of class if we had landed Coach Gruden

Landed Gruden? Can't land something that was never there. Just hoping we have a coach that can improve the fundamentals of some young men and win some games that we aren't supposed to win. That's coaching. Time will tell but I feel that we may have found the man. Just support your team and cheer them on. Being negative helps nothing. Winning equals recruiting success and we ain't there yet. GBO!!!

jack4444 writes:

in response to HaplessVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually this class doesn't mean much. Next year's will. So quit whining and crying. UT fans sure have gotten soft as baby butts.

claiborneh writes:

It doesn't matter if you get five stars unless, of course, you want to win a National Championship

UTvols33 writes:

in response to claiborneh:

Are Saban and Urban Meyer actually the best coaches or best recruiters. How good a coach is any coach if they play with the best recruits in the country. Isn't Saban supposed to win? Would he not be a poor coach if he can't win with the players he has?

You bring up a good point, however both Saban and Urb were successful in all there respected stops. Saban brought MSU from like 2 wins his first year to like 10 or 11 wins when he left for LSU. Urb was winning 9 or 10 games at Bowling Green and Utah before he coached at UF. Yes, they should win with the amount of talent they bring in, but they can coach, it's proven. You are right, though, winning makes recruiting much easier.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to Vol1968:

I'd rather have hard working 3 star rated guys then prima donna's who think there is an "I" in TEAM. Go VOls.

How true! You gotta feel really bad for Nick Saban. They signed three 5 star players and fourteen 4 star players. God...I feel so bad for him having to deal with all those prima donnas.

Remember that five star kid, Eric Berry, that UT signed? Gaaawd! How horrible was he?!? All he did was expect everything be given to him on a silver platter. I think I can speak for all Vols fans when I say that it was sooooo good to get him off the team. Because UT is not interested in all that flashy 5 star mess.

Nope. We're going to go to the SEC championship because we signed a bunch of hard working 3 stars (because all three stars grew upon a farm doing chores before football practice and love God and love America and love milk). Just like Mississippi State or Missouri or Kentucky...all teams chock full of good, ol'fashioned three start talent.

Yep...really glad that we didn't get Von Bell or Lawson or any of those losers.

edee writes:

It's a long road to get to where we've been.........just listend to Von Bell....ut was too busy going after others......didn't have time to get to know....

UTvols33 writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Every cloud has a silver lining! I think we are all a little frustrated as fans, but it's just a game played by, I hate to say it because it makes me feel old but, kids. Being angry or making negative comments doesn't make it fun. Everyone knows the situation, but some of us don't like reading all this bitter garbage that some are posting, it ruins the site. Like Mom always said,"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Colliervol writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

Well....we will know in a couple of years how good this class really is.

Exactly. Remember Phil's last two classes and Lame's one? A total of 33 "4 and 5 star" recruits netted us exactly THREE decent contributors. Talk about an inexact science. How many of Lame's big names were even on the team within 3 years? Not many. Recruiting is a key but player development is just as important.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't worry brother. There are more of us than you know. I still don't think that a majority of fans truly understand what's happening to our great program; how it is being dragged through the mud by bureaucrats like Cheek and incompetents like Hart.

We survived the Kiffin experiment, we weathered the Dooley experiment, and we'll weather this Big East experimental mess.

Also, don't hate our deluded brothers and sisters. They've eaten UT's table scraps for so long that they wouldn't know a fine dining experience if it was explained to them in crayon. I have faith that one day even they will realize that illogical optimism doesn't win games in the SEC. At least...I hope they will. If they don't, then we will witness the true and irreversible decline of UT football into obscurity.

pingkr62 writes:

If anyone is interested, RIVALS.COM lists, and ranks all Division 1 recruiting classes from 1-112. Take time to look at some of the schools who were ranked well behind Tennessee. It makes a 20 or 21 ranked class look pretty good. G.B.O.!!!

UTvols33 writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

How true! You gotta feel really bad for Nick Saban. They signed three 5 star players and fourteen 4 star players. God...I feel so bad for him having to deal with all those prima donnas.

Remember that five star kid, Eric Berry, that UT signed? Gaaawd! How horrible was he?!? All he did was expect everything be given to him on a silver platter. I think I can speak for all Vols fans when I say that it was sooooo good to get him off the team. Because UT is not interested in all that flashy 5 star mess.

Nope. We're going to go to the SEC championship because we signed a bunch of hard working 3 stars (because all three stars grew upon a farm doing chores before football practice and love God and love America and love milk). Just like Mississippi State or Missouri or Kentucky...all teams chock full of good, ol'fashioned three start talent.

Yep...really glad that we didn't get Von Bell or Lawson or any of those losers.

I can do that to, troll: Jansen Jackson, Bryce Brown, D'Rick Rogers, Cameron Clear. It goes both ways, I think you missed the point of the comment.

Colliervol writes:

in response to suggest_removal_4_all_troll_posts:

UT 2010: #9
UT 2011: #13
UT 2012: #17

Vandy 2010: #61
Vandy 2011: #70
Vandy 2012: #29

Vandy pretty much beat up on his with those inferior recruits. We'll be quite alright if this class is anywhere near it's #20 ranking.

BTW - for all the naysayers that say UT never had a class this bad -- 2006: #23 2008: #35

Our 2007: #3 made a list of most overrated classes.

Let's keep these kids in school and make 'em football playes over the next 4 years.

Good post suggest. But many of our football knowledge challenged fans won't be able to interpret it. They think a brand new coach should be able to walk in and magically sign nothing but 4 and 5 star players.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to edee:

It's a long road to get to where we've been.........just listend to Von Bell....ut was too busy going after others......didn't have time to get to know....

What is a coach supposed to do when he is hired two months from N.S.D.? Is he supposed to do what Fulmer did, sit on his big butt and wait for recruits to come to him? Get real!

UTvols33 writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

Don't worry brother. There are more of us than you know. I still don't think that a majority of fans truly understand what's happening to our great program; how it is being dragged through the mud by bureaucrats like Cheek and incompetents like Hart.

We survived the Kiffin experiment, we weathered the Dooley experiment, and we'll weather this Big East experimental mess.

Also, don't hate our deluded brothers and sisters. They've eaten UT's table scraps for so long that they wouldn't know a fine dining experience if it was explained to them in crayon. I have faith that one day even they will realize that illogical optimism doesn't win games in the SEC. At least...I hope they will. If they don't, then we will witness the true and irreversible decline of UT football into obscurity.

Geez, here we go again. Bestow your great wisdom upon us, brother. What should UT do? And don't forget to say, "sheeple" in your post.

Colliervol writes:

in response to claiborneh:

Alabama #1 class 5 times out of 6 years.
3 out of 4 National Championships.
Please let's not debate anymore about how critical it is to get 4 and 5 stars.

They have Nick Saban developing them too. See my previous post about our recruiting during that 3 year period I referenced. Tells you all you need to know about relying totally on the "star" system.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

About the only pluses for Jones in this class were holding onto,Ferguson, Harris, Reeves-Maybin and Carr.

Adding North, Sanders and Dobbs was pretty impressive as well.

Striking out on Bell, Lawson, Ford, Bellamy, Boyd,and Levenberry turned this class into a potential disaster though.

Beyond those guys mentioned earlier, Jones filled this class out with projects and players that had few if any offers from the big boys of the SEC.

And spare me the excuses of a limited time frame and losing seasons. Auburn and Mississippi are sitting pretty tonight with relatively unproven staffs and rough seasons in recent years.

They are just paying a lot less than what the Vols are to Jones and his "best staff in the country". Freeze is making 1.5 million less a season than Jones and Malzahn is making 7000,000 less.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to pingkr62:

If anyone is interested, RIVALS.COM lists, and ranks all Division 1 recruiting classes from 1-112. Take time to look at some of the schools who were ranked well behind Tennessee. It makes a 20 or 21 ranked class look pretty good. G.B.O.!!!

I agree..The top 20 is looking way better than the top 50 which is exactly where UT was two weeks ago..if that's not great recruiting, I don't know what is. No team gained that much ground after falling so far down the ladder..CBJ and staff should be commended.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to jack4444:

Actually this class doesn't mean much. Next year's will. So quit whining and crying. UT fans sure have gotten soft as baby butts.

No.

Most Vol fans are just sick of losing and listening to excuses as to why we are losing while shelling out twice the money as other programs and getting half the results.

The soft fans are those, such as yourself, who can't come up with any opinion or thoughts other than "wait til next year".

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

How true! You gotta feel really bad for Nick Saban. They signed three 5 star players and fourteen 4 star players. God...I feel so bad for him having to deal with all those prima donnas.

Remember that five star kid, Eric Berry, that UT signed? Gaaawd! How horrible was he?!? All he did was expect everything be given to him on a silver platter. I think I can speak for all Vols fans when I say that it was sooooo good to get him off the team. Because UT is not interested in all that flashy 5 star mess.

Nope. We're going to go to the SEC championship because we signed a bunch of hard working 3 stars (because all three stars grew upon a farm doing chores before football practice and love God and love America and love milk). Just like Mississippi State or Missouri or Kentucky...all teams chock full of good, ol'fashioned three start talent.

Yep...really glad that we didn't get Von Bell or Lawson or any of those losers.

Instead we get stuck with you... oh joy

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