Butch Jones stiff arms the negative talk and keeps building an awesome class, a bunch of Tennessee baseball players get drafted, and VFLs just keep making us proud, all in today’s Vols link roundup.
This headline from Gridiron Now makes a really interesting point:
You’d think that recruiting would be even more difficult when rumors begin to swirl about your imminent demise, but Jones is instead putting together one of his best classes. Chest bump to Jones for that. Maybe players just understand that relentless optimism better than fans do.
And yet Jones seems to be learning to season that optimism with a pinch of reality when talking to fans through the media. He’s “proud of [his] players, but not yet satisfied.” He says in one breath that Tennessee-Alabama is a “great, great rivalry,” but in the next that “we were very disappointed when we played them last year.” Basically, he’s still being himself but also learning to keep his foot out of his mouth.
There’s little danger in this statement, though, in which Jones says that he is pleased that his veterans are leading and his freshman are following.
Mike Griffith has an excellent feature on incoming running back Ty Chandler that you should go read now. Speaking of Mike, here he is saying interesting things on the SEC Network:
And again, GoVols247 entices you to bear the indignities of a 16-click slideshow by promising Vols football’s best moments against the Georgia Bulldogs. Yes, it’s a pain, but this one’s worth it. (You can also see the whole thing on one page if you are a subscriber.)
Offensive line coach Walt Wells is up to No. 5 on 247Sports‘ recruiter rankings after landing the commitment of 4-star D’Andre Litaker. He’s third among SEC assistant coaches, and largely responsible for Tennessee’s 2018 class, which is currently ranked in the Top 10 and heading into Orange Carpet Day.
Speaking of which, GoVols247 has a list of five guys to watch this weekend ($$$).
- Class of 2018 athlete Chris Joyce
The Atlanta Braves drafted Tennessee third baseman Jordan Rodgers in the sixth round on Tuesday. Pitchers Kyle Serrano (10th round, by the Houston Astros), Zach Warren (14th round, by the Philadelphia Phillies), and Hunter Martin (20th round, by Houston), and infielder Jeff Moberg (30th round, by the Colorado Rockies) were also drafted. Serrano, however, told Jimmy Hyams that he’s inclined to return to Tennessee rather than heading to the big leagues.
If you’re interested, SEC Sports has a list of all 75 players taken in the 2017 MLB Draft. Actually, they still have it even if you’re not interested, but you know what I mean.
The baseball Vols have also hired Frank Anderson as pitching coach.
Five of the first six picks in the Pilot Rocky Top League draft were Vols. Guard Chris Darrington went No. 1 overall. Jordan Bowden went second, and Admiral Schofield went third. Grant Williams and Jordan Bone were fifth and sixth. Play begins Monday night at 6:00 at Knoxville Catholic High School.
Peyton Manning offered Lamar Jackson this advice after he won the Heisman Trophy:
“Peyton Manning told me that if you’re not having fun with it, always talk with your guys. Talk to the people around the program who can help you with stuff like that. You’ve got to always have a smile on your face. People are always watching.”
Eric Berry said that he has a very good reason to regularly give hungry people food:
“I don’t do it for the attention,” Berry said. “I don’t do none of this for the attention. I do it to better myself and give back. That’s what you should do it for.”
Other fun stuff
Another sports book has set the over/under for the Vols this fall at 7.5 games. So the money-where-your-mouth-is people are banking on 7-8 wins for Tennessee.
The USTFCCCA, which wins the award for laziest acronym, named Vols junior Christian Coleman its National Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year. Assistant coach Tim Hall earned National Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
Golfer Hunter Wolcott is tied for 13th after the first round of the Southeastern Amateur at the Country Club of Columbus.