Since his arrival in Knoxville last December, Butch Jones has already made strides to win over the Tennessee Volunteers' fanbase.
Despite entering the team's coaching search as a dark-horse candidate, Jones has silenced the doubt of Vols fans who were originally hoping for a "bigger name."
During his introductory press conference, Jones professed his admiration for Tennessee, calling the head coaching position his "dream job." A great press conference is a key factor for a new coach looking to bring optimism to the fanbase of a program looking to rebuild.
Jones managed to salvage a depleted 2013 recruiting class and finish with the No. 21 team ranking on Rivals.com. Jones and his staff had about two months to recruit players between his December hire and February's national signing day deadline.
While his short-term recruiting was enough to create a spark, the upcoming 2014 recruiting class has been the biggest factor in the growth of his popularity amongst the Tennessee faithful. The Vols currently rank as the No. 1 team for the 2014 high school recruiting class, according to Rivals.
The Vols received yet another impressive boost with the commitment of 4-star linebacker Dillon Bates. The 6'3", 207-pound prospect ranks as the No. 3 outside linebacker and No. 59 overall player, according to Rivals.
Bates received offers from many national powerhouses, including SEC rivals Alabama and Florida. But, the Ponte Vedra High School standout decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, former Vol and Dallas Cowboys linebacker, Bill Bates.
The commitment of Bates obviously adds to Tennessee's ranking and a much-needed depth at the linebacker position in the future. For Jones, however, it is the latest offseason victory for a coach who continues to win over a desperate fanbase.
Tennessee fans want Jones to be as good as possible. Their team has seen three coaches take over since they parted ways with Phillip Fulmer, with Jones being the most recent.
The team has also been stuck in rebuilding mode for just as long and are hoping for a turnaround as soon as possible.
If Jones can win on the field in the manner that he has during the offseason, the Tennessee football program will restore their dominance in the SEC and return to their rightful place as a top-tier program.
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