Jones made the comments on The Sports Animal in Knoxville.
“They’ve never run the way they’ve run,” Jones said. “We can’t have any interaction with them. They’re in the hands of (strength coach) Dave Lawson (and his staff). But when they come up, to see the transformations in their bodies is unbelievable.”
Jones singled out defensive tackle Daniel McCullers as showing the most dramatic transformation.
“Our kids have a lot of confidence right now because they see their bodies changing,” Jones said.
Jones also said he was pleased with the progress of UT’s two freshmen quarterbacks, Riley Ferguson and Joshua Dobbs.
“We’re very fortunate to have two of the finest quarterbacks in the country come here,” he said. “I’m ecstatic about those individuals. Word has it they’re pushing (veteran quarterbacks) Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman.
“I think we’re going to look back at this (2013) class that was assembled in 31 days and say there were some real difference-makers that really propelled Tennessee football.”
Jones also said he was pleased by the “momentum” in recruiting, and even credited fans for making recruits and their families feel welcome when they “stop at the Pilot” on the way into town.
“They’re evaluating the friendliness of the people, as well,” Jones said.
Jones said his coaches finally have a short vacation on the horizon after working nonstop for months, but even then they won’t be able to put down their phones.
“Recruiting is nonstop, 24-7,” he said. “There is no offseason.”
Jones also talked about his trip to Miami to watch the Heat beat San Antonio to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Jones is friends with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
“It was a great experience, one of the most anticipated Game 7’s in NBA history,” Jones said. “It became a game of will as it went on.”
Jones took one of his sons into the post-game locker room and got a photo by LeBron James’ locker.
“That type of stuff doesn’t happen very often,” he said.
He said Spoelstra, James and the Heat provide a good lesson for athletes in any sport.
“We live in a sports-centered society,” Jones said. “You can turn on the TV every day and see highlights, but you have to work every day to get those highlights.”
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.