Street Fightin’ Man

“My goal is five years from now when I stand back up here, is for everyone to still be this excited. That’s my goal. I’m challenging everybody who is associated with this university. Let’s get our hands out of our pockets. Let’s roll our sleeves up. Let’s get ready to get in the streets with everyone else in the SEC. That’s what we have to do to be successful. If we want to get what we want, we have to outwork everyone. Let’s not talk about it. Let’s go do it. It starts today. Everyone associated with it, let’s get ready to go get what we want.”

We’ll have more on the two new signees individually, along with the impact we think this 2020 class will have on the future of Tennessee football, in the coming hours and days.  But what needs to be said first and foremost is that Coach Jeremy Pruitt is doing *exactly* what he said he would do in his introductory press conference.  And that is getting into street fights with the top programs in the top conference in the country, along with other national powers, and beating them for talent.  Today’s two-for-two finish to National Signing Day includes one player Tennessee straight up beat out Florida for (Dee Beckwith) and one player (Malachi Wideman) who not only did Tennessee beat out homestate Florida State for (where he was committed to) but also Oregon, one of the top programs in the country for the last decade or more.  That comes on the heels of December victories over Florida (Morven Joseph), Auburn (Omari Thomas), and Ohio State (Tyler Baron), along with multiple recruiting wins against the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and the like in his first two classes.

He’s done it in a variety of ways: Playing the long game with certain recruits, stepping in late and taking advantage of coaching changes elsewhere for others, and just outworking other programs.  He’s upgraded his staff from a recruiting perspective from Year 1 to Year 2.  And he’s also currently on the nation’s second longest winning streak (6) after digging the team out of a major hole. 

Tennessee isn’t there yet.  The roster still needs more talent and more depth.  But it’s damn sure closer than it was when Pruitt got here, it’s closer than it was before the December signing period, it’s after the additions the Vols made from the transfer portal, and it’s even closer after today’s finish to the 2020 class.

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