How many players will the Vols sign in 2015? As Butch Jones says, it’s in ‘flux’

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeButch Jones told an audience Wednesday at the Knoxville Tipoff Club that the Vols would probably sign 18-22 players in the 2015 class.

But, he quickly added, that number is in “flux” and would remain so for some time.

At first, Jones’ estimate sounded like an underestimation — perhaps a diplomatic one given the Vols just brought in an estimated 32 players in 2014.

But upon further review, it seems likely that UT could sign a class with fewer than 25 prospects in 2015.

The first factor is how many players, if any, the Vols will push forward to 2015 from this class. That number could be zero, one or two, depending on who’s counting.

But let’s assume that doesn’t happen.

Scholarship status cannot always be determined with certainty, but my list has 14 current seniors out of 85 scholarship players.

So to carve out 25 slots for the 2015 class, the roster would have to undergo considerable attrition, with 11 of the 71 non-seniors (roughly 15 percent) moving on with their careers.

There will be attrition, of course, but counting on that much is probably a bit ambitious — at least for now. So Jones’ guess of 18-22 players is probably as good as any. The Vols already have seven verbal commitments in the 2015 class, which means they’re off to an early start.