By Frank Gale
This past week Coach Butch Jones has received several high profile commitments for the 2014 class. It has been a long time since so many highly-rated recruits have promised to make Rocky Top their future home. Kevin Mouhon, a projected linebacker from the state of Georgia, is the latest high school senior to give his oral commitment to the Vols.
The Vols, according to many analysts, now have the number one recruiting class in the country. Still a long way to go, but it sure feels good to be in this position before this staff coaches their first game.
Next month, the new staff can do what they came to Tennessee to do — coach. The excitement and anticipation around Big Orange Country is starting to build. With the Vols picked to finish near the bottom of the SEC East, there will be plenty of opportunities for Butch Jones to pull off a few surprises this season.
The Vols left Hoover, AL, with a little bulletin board material courtesy of a player from the team that is just west of here. Vandy receiver Jordan Matthews said the Vols should “Go back down in the cellar from where they came.” That has the potential to be heard again and again prior to the November game in Knoxville. Aren’t rivalry games great?
The Vols also left media days with a few of their players on the pre-season All-SEC teams. Linebacker A.J. Johnson was the only Vol named to the first team. Ja’Wuan James and Antonio “Tiny” Richardson were placed on the second team, while fellow offensive linemen Zach Fulton and James Stone made the third team. Defensive lineman Dan McCullers was named to the third team.
The Vols uniform will have a few minor changes come this fall. Nothing as dramatic as when they took the field with black jerseys, but any change always leads to nervous reactions by traditional Vol supporters. Relax, these will hardly be noticeable.
One addition will be a small orange patch of the state of Tennessee on the back of both home and away jerseys. The word Tennessee will also appear across the front of the away jersey above the numbers.
It is being reported that the numbers on the jerseys will have a checkerboard background design. UT has not released any prototypes yet, but nothing sounds too drastic.
Only 36 more days to wait! I am sure that Jim Butler is gearing up for another big season with his Commodores, but so far there has been little coming from one of the black and gold’s biggest supporters.
I am sure he has visions of your's truly performing a stupid stunt after losing the annual Tennessee – Vandy game bet. My advice — tread carefully, my friend. Remember your "Rocky Top" solo on the Court House steps. Go Vols!!
(Frank Gale is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)