In an effort to win that battle, Jones and his staff are turning over every leaf possible for help, even to the state of Texas, which is the home to Dimarya Mixon.
The former Scout three-star prospect heads to Rocky Top this weekend for an official visit.
"I think it's just the program overall," Mixon said of Tennessee. "A lot of DI talent was drafted there, and it's a great place to be with coach Jones there. I mean he's really turning the program around and just the tradition of the program definitely has me interested in them."
Mixon talked to Jones on Sunday night in a conversation that touched on the Vols graduating six D-linemen.
"I think he's a great guy," the end said. "I think he's already turned the program around. He says he's trying to bring in the best guys right now and get this program back. He showed me he thinks I'm one of those guys that can come in right away and help the program, especially up front. They're losing a lot this year."
Other than Jones, Mixon's primary recruiter from the Orange & White is defensive line coach Steve Stripling, who's made it know the Vols need ends who can defeat tackles and tight ends and get upfield.
"He seems like a pretty interesting guy. Actually I talked to him on the phone last night. We have good conversations. don't usually end up talking about football. He asks me about my parents and see how everything is going. So, he's a good guy."
The Lone Star State standout was once committed to Arizona State before switching to Missouri and ultimately signing with Nebraska as part of the Cornhuskers' 2013 class but things didn't work out. While a Big 12 future was close to a reality, competing in the Southeastern Conference is intriguing in its own right.
"I feel like I can play in any type of conference, but you can't go wrong with playing in the SEC," Mixon said.
The Volunteers are recruiting him as a strongside defensive end.
"I'm good at multiple things," Mixon said when asked to describe his game. "I'm good as a pass rusher and also at stopping the run. And, I have a good motor. I don't stop until the whistle is blown."
As a graduate of West Mesquite (Texas) High School who isn't playing this fall, questions arise as to what the 6-foot-4, 263-pounder has been up to in the last several months.
"I have a trainer that I work with that I train with every day in the weight room," Mixon told InsideTennessee. "Then, I do agility drills and all types of running. On Sundays I work with a defensive line guy. He does a lot of technique with me — working with hands, pass rush moves, things like that."
One person working with Mixon is Rod Jones, who played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL career that lasted 1986-96 after playing collegiately at Southern Methodist University.
Plans are to enroll at the school of his choice in January.
If all goes well, it's possible Mixon could pull the trigger on a declaration.
"It's possible it could happen, you never know what happen on trips," he said with a laugh.