"Brick by brick." That is how Butch Jones describes the rebuilding job that he has been doing since arriving in Knoxville. Shortly after being hired, Jones found himself in the midst of  a crises. The recruiting season for 2013 was almost done and there were holes to fill and recruits to save. With less than a month until national signing day, Jones and his staff were able to secure a consensus top 25 recruiting class for the Vols.

Advertisement
Advertisement

If you are going to rebuild a program brick by brick, your bricks are recruits and you need the best. Had the Vols fallen short in saving that class, it likely wouldn't have been big news at the time. But there is no way to measure the amount of good that was done in terms of the rebuilding effort by saving it 

The top recruits kept coming

Jones second and third recruiting classes -- 2014, 2015 -- ranked in the top five nationally.

Advertisement

According to several recruiting sources. In spite of the recruiting damage attributed to Dooley, it would be unfair to fail to mention that Dooley, recruited two complete years while with the Vols. During this time, his two classes ranked by Phil Steele at #16 and #22 nationally in 2010 and 2011, respectively.  

I mention the recruiting nightmare inherited and quickly dispatched because if you are not a Tennessee fan it's unlikely you are aware.

Don’t miss the latest news!
Click on the topic you interest most. We'll keep you updated with all the news you shouldn't miss.
NFL

That situation alone could have ruined a new coach. While credit is due to Jones and his staff, it is also important to note that the issues reported were serious. While some reporting was done on the situation during and after, it simply hadn't been going on so long as to completely destroy relationships. 

It didn't get any worse

Tennessee was not in a very good place when Jones arrived. It was teetering on an ugly line, five wins versus seven losses in year one.

But they got a win over a top 25 team -- South Carolina 23-21 -- the first in three years. Long-time Tennessee fans were holding on to the only bragging point they had left, U.T. has never lost eight games in a single year.

This year the record will do the talking:

Glass half empty crowd - Butch Jones has never beaten any ranked teams. The SEC East has been way down every year he has been here and he still can't win it.

Advertisement

He had a better team than Florida for three years and can't beat them. He can't beat Alabama. He chokes when leading late.

Glass half full - Butch Jones' first three years as a head coach was at Central Michigan, a MAC team. There, his teams finished 8-6, 8-5 and 12-2. In Mac play, it isn't often you get a chance to play top 25 teams, so getting ranked wins is difficult. But, his team did get the chance to do it once in the 2009 GMAC Bowl.

Advertisement

There, they played and beat #23 Troy in double overtime, 44-41. 

Jones second job was a step up from MAC competition. He coached Big East member Cincinnati. There, he finished 4-8, 10-3 and 10-3. His ranked opponents were #8 Oklahoma lost 29-31, #16 Louisville lost in OT 31-34, #22 Rutgers lost 3-10. Judging by some of the national coaches rankings out there, Butch Jones appears to be way under-valued as a head coach. He doesn't blow his own horn, pick fights with other coaches, his kids graduate and make decent grades and he is a pretty strict disciplinarian. He also isn't afraid to make upgrades on his staff when/if he thinks they are needed. There it is Tennessee has been rebuilt. There may be reasons but certainly no excuses for this team. 

Don't miss our page on Facebook!
Click to read more