What are the recruits thinking?

By Alex Norman

“What does this mean for recruiting, Lane?”

That was the line that will forever be connected to Tennessee football recruiting, after a media member yelled that at a fleeing Lane Kiffin the night he resigned in 2010, putting the Vols further down the road to mediocrity.

Kiffin’s former assistant coach Ed Orgeron would follow him to Los Angeles, but not before he shamefully called the Vols early enrollees, and told them not to go to class the next day.  This would seemingly give those players an easier time transferring from Tennessee.

Remember Tyler Bray?  He and his family moved from California to Knoxville only weeks earlier because they trusted that Kiffin would be there.  His football future took a huge hit before he even practiced with the team.

It’s no secret that recruiting is a cesspool.  The story above is one of countless tales of adults acting in their own best interest while the teenagers and their families pay the price.

So with all the uncertainty about the future of Butch Jones at Tennessee, it has to play on the psyches of the Class of 2018.

The decision as to where you go to college is one of the most important decisions that a person makes in their lifetime.  When football is involved many people are guilty of forgetting that these are young people that have to make a call that will affect them for decades.

There are three kids in Knox County that have verbally committed to the University of Tennessee.  Knoxville Catholic’s Cade Mays, Farragut’s Jacob Warren, and Gibbs’s Ollie Lane.

They hear the rumblings.  They pay attention to the rumor mill.  And if Jones and his staff are dispatched, they might have to adjust their plans in a big way.

Earlier this year Cade Mays told us why he chose to commit to Tennessee.

“Guys like me and Trey Smith and other guys in these other classes are just changing this program. When people look back at our years of playing, they can say Cade Mays and these other guys turned the program around and I want to be one of those guys… I was watching the video of the team ‘Running Through the T’ last night and I got goosebumps. I was thinking that I can’t imagine what it is going to be like. I honestly don’t know what it is going to be like it is going to be an unreal feeling.”

Jacob Warren had this to say about his future school.

“I live here.  I’m a local kid I’m right down the street. My Dad (James Warren 1989-1993) went to Tennessee so it is a whole legacy thing with my Dad playing there. It has been a dream of mine since I was a kid to go and be a part of the Vols. I think about it all the time. I think about it anytime I see that Power T or talk about it with my friends I get butterflies in my stomach and know it is gonna be the greatest experience ever. ‘Running Through the T’ with Rocky Top playing and everyone screaming and my family around me. So that’s the biggest thing just being a dream, so glad to make it come true.”

Ollie Lane told Volquest.com why Tennessee was the place for him.

“It’s home. It’s where I grew up. It’s been a dream of mine in the making. It’s very exciting for me.”

Tennessee fans have very strong opinions when it comes to Butch Jones, now in his fifth year as the Vols head coach.  But if he is fired, there will be a nice paycheck waiting for him.  The “buyout life” is pretty sweet.  The assistant coaches would also be paid the remainders of their salaries.  And while getting fired can be an awful experience, we shouldn’t worry as much about them.

Like Hyman Roth told Michael Corleone, this is the life they chose. We should be concerned for the young people that would have their futures turned upside down.

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