Tennessee Football: Odds 2013 Recruits Decommit If Vols Crumble in 2012

Stephen WilliamsContributor IIIAugust 21, 2012

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 26:  Derek Dooley the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats  at Commonwealth Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As the season quickly approaches, the excitement level for the upcoming Tennessee football season is continuing to rise. Many Volunteers fans believe this will be the year that Tennessee finally turns things around and starts to show that the program is headed in the right direction.

While most people are writing about all of the good possible outcomes of the season, there is still the other side of the equation most people don’t want to talk about. What happens if the season goes poorly, and the results are not any better than they have been over the last two seasons?

For the purposes of this article, let’s define what crumbling means for the Vols in 2012. I would define crumbling as another losing season in Knoxville that results in the firing of Derek Dooley and his coaching staff.

At that point the Vols will be forced to start over at square one, where they were three years ago following the departure of Lane Kiffin.

So what happens then?

Programs changing coaches is a common occurrence in college football today. However, it is also a common occurrence for committed recruits to withdraw their commitment.

Would Tennessee be able to buck the trend and hold on to recruits?

It’s highly unlikely.

An honest evaluation of the Tennessee program right now shows that the program is nowhere near the level of prestige of where it once was. The Tennessee name doesn’t carry as much weight anymore.

Therefore, if things were to fall apart during the 2012 season, it doesn’t seem likely that recruits would stick to their commitments. There may be some that choose to hold on, and the next head coach may be able to convince some to stick around, but as a whole, the odds are pretty high that recruits would decommit.

Of course, all of this talk becomes irrelevant if the Vols perform this fall. For Tennessee fans, that’s a much more compelling topic.