Tennessee Football: The State of the Program After 2013 Season

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Tennessee Football: The State of the Program After 2013 Season
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Butch Jones' first season as the Tennessee Volunteers head football coach had a couple of memorable moments but ultimately didn't turn out the way anybody had hoped. Instead, 2013 ended with the 5-7 Vols watching bowl games from home for the third consecutive season.

UT will lose several starters off this year's squad, but that's not necessarily a terrible thing for a team needing to upgrade its talent and speed at virtually every position. Jones will welcome a huge recruiting class that currently sits at 33 players and ranks fourth nationally according to 247Sports.

That haul could grow in the coming days, but as long as everybody holds firm, it's reason enough to hope for a brighter future.

There are probably too many holes where youngsters must provide immediate help to get too excited about 2014, but with an infusion of talent, watching the rebuilding process has some redeeming qualities.

If they jell quicker than expected, there are enough talented players in place for UT to make some noise.

The regular SEC slate and an early season trip to Norman, Okla. to take on the Sooners yields another daunting task for an inexperienced team in '14. But making a bowl game and taking that step in the right direction will be a realistic and achievable goal.

Let's take a look at the state of the program moving into 2014.

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