Tennessee’s coaching and support staff always seem to have a game plan. The 24/7/365 world of recruiting is certainly no different.
It started Monday morning at roughly 5:28. One targeted prospect after another was retweeted by fourth-year coach Butch Jones. When the dust settled it was a three-figure number of talents that got attention from the head man.
“It’s one of those things that changed in the rules,” Jones told InsideTennessee. “We’re going to follow the rules. As well all know here, everything is about recruiting. You win with great players. You win with great character. So, it’s kind of a great way to start your morning off or at night. It’s kind of my mental escape from football for a little bit.”
Proposal No. 2015-48 states: "Establish exception to restriction on publicity before commitment that permits action of approval (e.g., like, favorite and share) by an institutional staff member on social media platforms."
The rule doesn't allow coaches to "endorse" InsideTennessee when it tweets about a recruit. However, coaches can tweet an image from the high schools during the NCAA Evaluation Period and can add emojis to retweets.
Coaches cannot share institutional Facebook posts to the walls of prospective student=athletes. College coaches also cannot use slogans and hashtags associated with high schools.
Not every orange-clad coach waited until the morning. Shortly after the rule went into effect at midnight, tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Larry Scott was one of the Tennessee coaches “thumbing it up.”
Chase Rogers is a Scout three-star prospect and one of the longest-standing pledges for Tennessee's 2017 class. The Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, talent that's been on board with the Big Orange since March 5 got the first retweet from Scott.
From there it was three-star wide receiver commit Jacquez Jones before on to another Clearwater standout and three-star athlete in C.J. Cotman. The other tight end this class, LaTrell Bumphus, came next before Scott go to t white whale in five-star running back Cam Akers.
“That has really changed the game,” said Scott, who served as interim head coach at Miami (Fla.) last fall. “It’s really changed the game, but that’s the world we live in. A big piece of our job is recruiting. A big piece of our job is that. I mean it’s the lifeblood. You can come in and coach as hard as you want to but the bottom line is you have to have good players and good people. From that standpoint, coach Jones challenges us all the time to be on the cutting every of everything that we do, whether it’s coaching football, learning new fundamentals, learning new techniques in recruiting. So whatever it is that we’re permissible to do and get out and do, we’re going to go ahead and attack it. We want to be the best in the country at whatever we do. That’s the standard around here, and that’s what we do.”
Is Tennessee’s fan base an advantage or disadvantage in this respect? Those that know little to nothing about the prospective student-athletes and some who cannot control their emotions on social media will know exactly who Jones & Co. want to see in orange.
For example, Jones retweeted Scout four-star offensive tackle T.J. Moore earlier this week but since then Moore gave South Carolina verbal commitment. How will Johnny W. Volunteerfan react after giving a “guarantee” to buddies that Moore would pick Tennessee based on a misinformed “crystal ball?”
See what Scott told IT in the video below: