When Tennessee hired Butch Jones to take over their football program this year, it's hard to imagine they knew the kind of recruiting success he would immediately bring in.
The Volunteers' 2013 class already has 28 members and has added four new players just this month. Four-star wide receiver Lavon Pearson, four-star defensive end Dewayne Hendrix, four-star defensive end Derek Barnett and four-star offensive tackle Dontavius Blair all committed to the program in October.
Tennessee's class currently ranks second in the nation, which places them, unsurprisingly, at second in the SEC (behind Alabama).
Jalen Hurd is unquestionably the star of the class. The athlete from Beech (Tenn.) High School is considered a five-star prospect by the 247sports composite. He is rated as the fourth-best athlete in the country and the best player in the state.
Todd Kelly is another big part of the Vols' class. The safety from the Webb School of Knoxville (Tenn.) is rated as a four-star by the 247sports composite. He is considered the sixth-best safety in the country and the third-best player in the state.
Dillon Bates is another key part for Butch Jones. The outside linebacker from Ponte Vedra (Fla.) High School is considered a four-star by the 247sports composite. He is rated as the seventh-best outside linebacker in the country and the 13th-best player in the state.
Hendrix is a key acquisition for Tennessee. The defensive end from O Fallon (Ill.) High School is rated as a four-star by the 247sports composite. He is considered the fifth-best strong-side defensive end in the country and the seventh-best player in the state.
Still to come? (By Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst)
Butch Jones has already done a great job of recruiting for Tennessee. But he isn't done with this class. Here are four top targets:
- The top target for the Volunteers is Josh Malone, a four-star receiver from Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp High school. Malone can play right away for the Volunteers if he signs with Tennessee, as the Vols have a major lack of talent at receiver.
- Continuing with the receiver theme, Eric Lauderdale, a four-star receiver from Saddleback JUCO in California, could also start right away if he signs. Lauderdale decommitted from Tennessee earlier in the cycle, but is still considering the Vols.
- Massive defensive tackle Charles Mosley, of Brighton (Tenn), is a huge battle between Tennessee and Alabama.
- Four-star defensive back Evan Berry, of Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside High School, is the younger brother of former Tennessee star Eric Berry. He is considered a lock to Tennessee.
If Tennessee can haul in this class, and stack another top class on top of it, it can start to compete for the SEC East in 2015 or 2016.