Tennessee football had a lot of momentum finishing the season, and that helped on the recruiting trail for Jeremy Pruitt to get his guys.
Tennessee football had one of the worst starts to a season one team could have. A loss to Georgia State and BYU back-to-back in Neyland Stadium isn’t good.
In Tennessee’s first five games, they were able to secure only one win to a bad Chattanooga team. 1-4 going into a game that could turn around its season against Mississippi State.
The Vols win that game 20-10, then, unfortunately, Alabama was next on the schedule, and they were too much for Tennessee.
After that, Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols couldn’t hold back and lose any more games, or they would chance not going to a bowl game.
South Carolina, UAB, Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt, and then in the bowl game Indiana all lost to Tennessee as the Vols found its stride and went on a tear in the back half of its SEC schedule and capped it off with a bowl win.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt thinks that momentum the Vols had going into its bowl game helped on the recruiting trail.
"“I think recruiting has a little bit of momentum to it,” Pruitt said on National Signing Day. “When you get guys that start committing to a certain school, guys want to be a part of that. Right now, we won six games and seven out of our last eight. That created some momentum on the field and some momentum in December."
I think that momentum to end the regular season definitely helped with early signing day in December, and I said it back then, and I’ll continue to say it now, not only for early signing day but also for National Signing Day this past week.
High school players pay attention to what their potential teams are doing, and I think that recency bias could play a part in their decision. Tennessee won seven of its last eight games, including a bowl win, and the Vols on-field performance improved tremendously.
I think all that has to play a big part in Pruitt getting players to Rocky Top. Pruitt is also a really good, maybe even great, recruiter and he has a great staff of recruiters with him, so I’m sure everything came together to make the decision a little easier for some recruits.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Jeremy Pruitt is building something special at Tennessee. Has he done everything we as fans have wanted? No, but what coach does? Has he won every game we wanted him to win? No, and he’s human, so it’s understandable.
The good that he’s done at Tennessee has outweighed the bad that has happened. The momentum to finish the 2019-20 season most definitely helped with recruiting, and now Pruitt needs to build off of his recruiting momentum and build it into something great this offseason.