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Tennessee Vols' Butch Jones faces challenge with SEC recruiting
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ThinkBigPine Offline
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Tennessee Vols' Butch Jones faces challenge with SEC recruiting
Quote:His first Southeastern Conference game is more than seven months away, but Butch Jones already has gotten a crash course in life in college football’s fast lane.

By going head-to-head with various SEC programs in pursuit of talented recruits for Tennessee, Jones got a dose of the challenge that lies ahead.

“Everything is accelerated in the SEC,” he said. “Every day, you have to bring your ‘A’ game, no matter what you’re doing. But it’s invigorating. As a competitor, you want to go up against the best each and every day.”

It was a rush job. Jones was hired at UT on Dec. 7. Because of the NCAA-mandated “dead periods” on the calendar, Jones had only 31 permissible recruiting days before national signing day last Wednesday.

In finishing the class that began under predecessor Derek Dooley, Jones won some battles and lost others. He acknowledged that attracting SEC-caliber players is particularly difficult because of the competition, but said the process is essentially the same at UT as it was at his previous head-coaching stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati.

“Recruiting is selling,” he said. “It’s a people-oriented business. It’s about establishing relationships. The big thing is the overall philosophy and the overall intensity on a minute-by-minute basis in recruiting in the SEC.

“There’s no cookie-cutter approach to recruiting. Everybody is different. But at the end of the day, it’s about being able to develop that trust and having a tremendous product to sell, which we do at Tennessee.”

UT’s signing class ranked No. 20 nationally, according to Rivals.com. But that was only 10th in the SEC. Down the stretch the Vols couldn’t close the deal on a handful of coveted recruits. Among them were running backs Derrick Henry, who signed with Alabama, and Johnathan Ford, who chose Auburn.

As if going head-to-head against SEC coaches wasn’t tough enough, Jones lost prime defensive back prospect Vonn Bell to former Florida coach Urban Meyer, who has implemented an SEC-style recruiting philosophy at Ohio State.

From all accounts, Jones did a terrific job of playing catch-up in the pursuit of Bell, who lives in Ooltewah, Tenn., but played high school ball just across the state line in Georgia. However, when it came time to put pen to paper, Bell pledged his allegiance to Ohio State.

It was one of several signing-day coups for Meyer, who is changing how Big Ten football does business. When Meyer arrived at Ohio State last year, he immediately flipped prospects who previously had committed to Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

When opposing coaches cried foul, Meyer shrugged it off. In the SEC, he learned that all’s fair in love and recruiting.

Live and learn. Since landing at UT, Jones put together a staff that is passionate about recruiting and is laying the groundwork for the recruiting Class of 2014.

“You work as hard as you can, but sometimes there’s just too much ground to make up,” assistant Tommy Thigpen said. “You build relationships over 365 days, not a few weeks. … We just ran out of time with some guys.”

Moving forward, that is the biggest challenge for Jones and his staff. He knows his second recruiting class needs to be better than his first, particularly with an uncommon number of big-time prospects in the state.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about players and how we develop them once we get them,” Jones said. “You win with players and you win with character. You can never take a day off in recruiting.”

Especially in the SEC.

Found this article under Truth and Rumors on SI, copied and pasted the original article from The Tennessean. Seemed like the Smack forum was the most appropriate place for it.

Think BJ is getting a dose of reality?
 
(This post was last modified: 02-12-2013 11:44 AM by ThinkBigPine.)
02-12-2013 11:39 AM
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JackieTreehorn Offline
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RE: Tennessee Vols' Butch Jones faces challenge with SEC recruiting
I saw some signing day video posted last week showing Butch flying on a private jet to Memphis and Nashville on signing day to meet with alumni/boosters in each city and bloviating about how they're going to own the whole state of Tennessee. Sound familiar?
 
02-12-2013 11:51 AM
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ThinkBigPine Offline
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RE: Tennessee Vols' Butch Jones faces challenge with SEC recruiting
It's crazy to think that the SEC had 9 other teams ahead of UT in the top 20.
 
02-12-2013 11:52 AM
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ThinkBigPine Offline
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RE: Tennessee Vols' Butch Jones faces challenge with SEC recruiting
It is crazy to think that there were 9 other SEC teams ahead of him in the top 19.
 
02-12-2013 11:55 AM
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Marcus Offline
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RE: Tennessee Vols' Butch Jones faces challenge with SEC recruiting
He finished second with three 5-stars this year. He did a good job in a month of getting them involved with guys like Vonn Bell and Carl Lawson, players they weren't even on the radar with when Dooley was there. If Bell's brother hadn't been on the payroll of Urban Meyer then I think he would actually have chosen Tennessee.

I dont think he should be judged on his recruiting until next year's class, because quite honestly Derek Dooley set up this class to be a monumental failure. That guy was just horrible at building relationships, pissing off high school coaches and parents as well as abandoning very influential alumni and former players. He also had a staff where about half the guys didn't spend 1 minute on the recruiting trail.
 
(This post was last modified: 02-14-2013 01:45 PM by Marcus.)
02-14-2013 01:38 PM
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Vewb1 Offline
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RE: Tennessee Vols' Butch Jones faces challenge with SEC recruiting
Too bad Lyle. I could almost cry. I'm soo upset !!!
 
02-16-2013 06:39 PM
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