The Tennessee Volunteers had a down year in 2012, going 5-7 overall with a dismal 1-7 in SEC play. This is their second consecutive 5-7 season, and their third losing season in a row, since going 6-7 in 2010.
Yet, this coming season, there is hope for the Vols. They have a new head coach, Butch Jones, who has brought excitement to the team, as well as a winning mentality. His overall record, with 3 years at Central Michigan as well as 3 years with Cincinnati, is an impressive 50-27, going to 3 bowl games.
Along with his winning mentality, Jones is bringing in many highly touted recruits such Paul Harris and Marquez North, two 4-star wide receiver to compliment the Vols’ 15th ranked passing offense in the country. These two will hopefully fill the offensive void left by Cordell Patterson and Tyler Bray, who both left for the NFL draft.
Jones also hopes to improve the Vols’ 107th ranked defense by adding two 3-star ranked defensive linemen in Malik Brown and Jaylen Miller, and a 4-star recruit in Jason Carr.
One of the Vols’ most important recruits could be Joshua Dobbs, a 3-star Quarterback out off Georgia. With both returning quarterbacks, Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman, having weak springs and terrible Orange and White games (both throwing under 50% and a combined 7 sacks), Dobbs seems as if he is set to make a large contribution to the Vols’ offense early in his true freshman year.
Finally, there is good returning talent for the Vols. Rajion Neal is returning for his junior year after having a solid year his first year as a starter, amassing 708 yards and 5 touchdowns in a pass-heavy offense.
A.J. Johnson is returning, to the happiness of everyone in Vol Nation. Johnson had a great sophomore campaign, racking up a team leading 138 total tackles, 8.5 for losses. “The Beast” hopes to lead the new look defense to a better year than the last.
While Tennessee hasn’t been successful the last couple years, the combination of recruiting, new coaching, and returning studs should cause the Vols will have a great year with a difficult SEC schedule.