KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones, like most coaches, publicly disavows recruiting rankings.
The only opinions that matter, Jones has said, are those of the UT coaching staff.
Most college football coaches will give you a similar refrain. (Although when I was at Auburn, running backs coach Curtis Luper once gave a refreshingly honest answer: “If they’re keeping the score, you want to win, right?”)
Coaches do notice rankings, even if they do their own independent evaluations. And you’d better believe coaches are taking a peek at the 247Sports coaches’ recruiting rankings every now and then.
But if coaches are coy about rankings, fans eat them up. Witness the message-board freakout that occurred when Tennessee reportedly accepted a verbal commitment from two-star linebacker Jerome Dews.
The sites that cover UT recruiting haven’t officially confirmed Dews’ commitment or added him to their lists. Sometimes that means an offer was not “committable.” But the story leaves little doubt that Dews fully intended to be formally committing to sign as a member of the 2014 class.
Dews even had a great quote on his (lack of) ranking:
“For them to be an SEC school and take that chance on me with me having no other big offers shows they’re nothing but real people. They don’t care about publicity and all that stuff, the politics. They like me, and they don’t care about none of that other stuff.”
In a blog post coming later today, we’ll look back at UT’s current players and see how the recruiting services did on the evaluations coming out of high school