Why It Will Be Hard For Tennessee's 2021 Recruiting Class To Stay At The Top Of Rankings

The piece ahead is not a hate piece directed towards Tennessee. Instead, it's meant to give perspective on Tennessee's recruiting success

Today, another two 4-star recruits committed to Tennessee. Vols Twitter is going crazy, and I don't blame them.

A phenomenal recruiting job by Jeremy Pruitt and his coaching staff. Tennessee fans are excited about the future, as any program would be. 

Now, you may be wondering, just how good is this Tennessee class? Let's take a look at the rankings as they stand right now:

You'll see there is a decent gap between Ohio State and Tennessee in "points." Each time a team receives a commit, they are given points on a 1-30 point scale and added to the overall class points. The 247Sports points calculator is a bit confusing, but just remember the higher-rated recruits you get, the higher your overall class score will be.

Right now, Tennessee is at a 252.32 score with 21 commits. Looking at previous years, to be in the top 5 of recruiting classes after national signing day, you have to be above 290 points. To stay in the top 2? Your average has to be right around 310 points. 

So, what makes up a 310 point class? 

-20+ 5/4-star recruits (blue chips)

-No more than 5 3-star recruits

Right now, Tennessee has commits from 9 4/5-star recruits and 12 3-star recruits. I do not know their exact scholarship situation, but let's say they have 4 more spots open for the class of 2020. Let's be optimistic and say all of them are 4/5-star recruits. That bumps Tennessee up to 13 blue-chip recruits. They would then have to hope that 60% of their 3-star recruits are bumped up to 4-star recruits throughout the season to get into that 310 point class range.

To put it frankly, Tennessee just has too many 3-star recruits at the moment to be a #2 class once all the dust has settled. Plus, they have to keep all of these recruits throughout the next 7-9 months. 247Sports is expecting an "epic decommitment season" coming this fall. On top of that, of the past 3 #2 classes, each team won more than 10 games in a regular season (success on the field equals success on the recruiting path). Even the most optimistic Vol fan doesn't see that happening this fall. This much is clear: looking at the past 4 years of recruiting data, it's highly unlikely that Tennessee will keep their #2 position over the next 7-9 months.

Does that mean this recruiting class is a failure for Tennessee? Of course not. This class has continued an encouraging sign for Tennessee football. Here is every class that Jeremy Pruitt has signed and their ranking:

Class of 2018: 21

Class of 2019: 15

Class of 2020: 10

Will this continue? It appears like it will. Looking at past classes and assuming Tennessee pulls a few more big commitments, the Vols are looking at a top 8 recruiting class assuming everybody stays put. That will be their highest class since 2015, which came in at #4...there's even a slight possibility that it can top that class. 

Of course, that 2015 class didn't turn into anything special for the Vols, but Pruitt & Co. look to be much more equipped to develop recruits than Butch Jones was. The idea here is that Pruitt can keep this momentum going for the class of 2022, 2023, etc. That's what Butch could not do. If he does that then Tennessee can in fact "be back."

The future is bright for Tennessee....it just isn't #2 class in the country bright.