Knoxville, TN (PRWEB) February 27, 2014
If the current offseason is any indication, fans with Tennessee Volunteers tickets can expect big things from Butch Jones in the very near future.
Despite coming off a disappointing 5-7 season in 2013, Jones was able to bring in one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, one with five-star talent at the top and depth at nearly every position.
According to i-Deal Tickets marketing manager Brent Larsen, the huge recruiting haul already has the Vols’ fanbase fired up for the 2014 season.
“Following recruiting has become a huge part of being a college football fan, particularly in the South,” Larsen said. “We’ve already seen an increase in interest in Tennessee Volunteers tickets because of the class that Butch Jones was able to bring in.”
The presence of this year’s recruiting class should breathe some life into the program, which has slipped noticeably compared to several others in the SEC. While most incoming recruits take a while to get assimilated to the college game, young players are arriving on campus more ready than ever to make an instant impact.
“I think most fans are savvy enough to know that it is going to take time for Jones to get enough talent in place to compete with the big boys in the SEC East,” Larsen said. “However, after the immediate success of Guz Malzahn at Auburn, I imagine some fans with Tennessee Volunteers tickets will want to see big improvements from the Vols this year.”
The offense figures need some time to come together in 2014, as numerous pieces of the offense a season ago need to be replaced or reconfigured. The offensive line will undergo a massive overhaul, as all five starters, including second-team All-SEC left tackle Antonio Richardson, need to be replaced.
Dependable RB Rajion Neal, a 1,000 yard rusher a season ago, has departed as well, leaving the running game in a state of flux. Perhaps most importantly, Jones was never able to settle on a quarterback a season ago, and the competition to be Tennessee’s starting signal caller will be wide open.
Despite these challenges, Jones does have some interesting pieces to work with on this side of the ball. Early enrollee Jalen Hurd should get a chance to play immediately at running back, while five-star WR Josh Malone will look great lining up across from fellow receiver Marquez North, a member of the All-SEC freshman team a season ago. Jones has a strong history of coaching productive offenses, so it shouldn’t be long before he has built a powerful offensive unit in Knoxville.
The best news for the defense this offseason was the return of All-SEC linebacker A.J. Johnson for his senior season, as he would have left a big void in the middle of the defense had he decided to enter the NFL Draft a season early. Though the entire starting defensive line has to be replaced, the return of Johnson and junior safety Brian Randolph gives the Vols a pair of impact defenders.
Most fans of the Tennessee Volunteers were willing to give Jones a free pass in his first season at the helm, largely because the situation at quarterback was so unsettled. Now that he has a full season under his belt, particularly with much more talent on hand in 2014, Vols’ fans will certainly expect to see some solid process in Knoxville this upcoming season.
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