InsideTennessee answers all your Vol questions

You ask the questions. We answer them. You smile and nod your head.

What do the coaches, including Butch Jones, tell prospects and their parents in the critical home visits, and what do they tell the prospects in general? — EastTNTSO

College football coaches tell potential prospects all kinds of stuff, as you can imagine, and it ranges from details like where they see the prospect fitting in their specific system to the new Star Wars movie that just came out. It really depends on the kid, the situation and the coach. Every recruit that I've ever spoken with who has been in contact with someone on Tennessee's staff says the Vols' coaches are extremely good at connecting with them on a personal level, meaning this bunch is adept at talking more than just X's and O's. Recruits learn about the school from their potential coaches, discuss football scheme and, as is the case at every school across the country, get their ego stroked a little bit in the process. Recruiting is about comfortability, and it's safe to say in-home visits touch on a wide variety of issues, including assuring the family their son/nephew/grandson/brother will be safe and secure at the coach's school with a bright future both academically and athletically. In the end, coaches attempt to build relationships with recruits, gauging their personalities to see how best that can be accomplished. If the kid likes to discuss football all day every day, the coaches will learn that and act accordingly. If the recruit wants someone to be a mentor through the process, the coaches will assume that role. It's all about relationships and being able to communicate effectively through a wide array of ever-changing mediums, from Twitter direct messages to face-to-face contact.

We have three JUCOs in. Who else is going to be an early enrollee among our commits? What about those at the top of our board? — clrlyric

Tennessee signed three junior college players during the JUCO signing period, as you mentioned, so corner D.J. Henderson, defensive lineman Alexis Ellis and wide receiver Jeff George will all enroll in January and start working with the team heading into spring practice. A fourth early enrollee, Scout three-star cornerback Marquill Osborne, also signed his financial papers ensuring he'll have a scholarship with the Vols, is also expected to be on campus Jan. 13. Jarrett Guarantano, the gem of Tennessee's 2015 class and the No. 1 ranked quarterback in the East Region, told my colleague Danny Parker his status as a potential early enrollee is "still to be determined." Without Guarantano, th early enrolle number for Tennessee looks to stay at four at the moment. 

How encouraging was Tennessee's performance against Gonzaga? —mr.volfan2004

I've said it before in this mailbag, and I'll use it as a caveat again: I'm not a moral victory guy. But I'm also not James Harrison, and I won't be grinding my soccer participation trophy into a wood chipper any time soon. Tennessee fans should be very encouraged by their team's showing in Seattle. This Gonzaga team had everything it needed to expose Tennessee, including enormous post players that towered over the Vols' tiny roster like redwoods. But Rick Barnes proved why he will be a potential Hall of Fame coach. He limited Domantas Sabonis about as well as any small team could in the second haflf with a double team. The Vols clawed back into a game they had no business being in despite one of their best scorers in Robert Hubbs going 1-for-6 as he knocks off the rust from missed time due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Barnes has this team where everyone with reasonable expectations thought it would be this season, and for that, you should be content at the moment.


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