Now Tennessee is trying to continue the tradition of great linebackers like Keith DeLong, Al Wilson and Raynoch Thompson and the Tennessee coaching staff is starting with the 2014 class.
The Volunteers are now among the leaders for four-star Broken Arrow, Okla., native and outside linebacker Gyasi Akem.
"I would say that Oklahoma, LSU, Tennessee and Ole Miss are recruiting me the hardest right now," Akem told InsideTennessee. "Those are probably my top schools right now if I had to name some, but it all depends on the relationships I build with those coaches."
A 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, Akem runs the 110 and 300 meter hurdles for Broken Arrow (Okla.) High School and claims 4.5 40-yard dash speed. Luckily for the Vols, Akem isn't a long-time Oklahoma fan and says the SEC has some big-time appeal.
"It is definitely big to get offers from those SEC schools," he said. "That is really where you go to play against the best competition. Not that you can't find good competition in the Big 12, Pac 12 or ACC, but lately the SEC has been the best that is for sure."
The No. 22 outside linebacker in the 2014 class according to FOX Sports NEXT, Akem finished his junior season with 44 tackles, three sacks, two tackles for loss and two interceptions.
In Akem's recruitment, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has once again deployed offensive graduate assistant Cody Kempt who is making big headway for the Vols.
"Things with Tennessee have been really good," he said. "I haven't gotten a chance to talk to the coaches in person, but I talk to them on the phone all the time. I have talked with several of them, but I talk all the time with Coach Kempt. He has been my main recruiter.
"Coach Kempt is a cool guy. Whenever I want I can call him and he calls me. I talk to him about football and ask about what they have to offer as far as academic programs. It has been good talking with him. I want to get over there this summer if I can and if I had to decide now I would probably use an official visit there."
Akem, who will visit Baylor next weekend, says that Tennessee's history was a major sticking point that peaked his interest in the Vols.
"What stood out the most about Tennessee to me was coach Kempt telling me they were the most winning program in college football," he said. "I didn't know that about them. Right now, with the new staff, they are just trying to get Tennessee back to where it used to be."
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