While Tennessee's resurgent success on the field and all the hype leading into the 2016 season haven't resonated yet on the recruiting trail, the Volunteers already have lured a slew of top talent onto campus for junior days.
Before long, you have to think coach Butch Jones will add to the two 3-star prospects (Georgia linebacker Mo Burnham and Mississippi tight end Chase Rogers) who've already pulled the trigger with commitments in the '17 class.
UT is on the list of many of the nation's top prospects, and while national runner-up Clemson has proved to be a nemesis on the recruiting trail so far, the Vols have to win some battles with top talent within state boundaries in a banner year for talent close to home.
The Vols are already behind on several top targets, including Knoxville receiver Amari Rodgers and Memphis running back Cordarrian Richardson, who've both committed to Dabo Swinney's Tigers. Also, California offensive lineman and UT legacy Kanan Ray pledged to UCLA.
If Ray and Rodgers follow through with these commitments, it'll mark the first time in Jones' tenure he's lost a legacy commitment the Vols have really coveted.
Despite the struggling start, the recruiting board for every team right now is massive. While it's difficult to sort through and assign rankings to the top players, it's becoming obvious who some of the Vols' top targets will be.
But narrowing it to a top five is a tough exercise. Without talking directly to Jones (who can't commit on unsigned prospects) this list is going to be subjective. For instance, this one doesn't even include Maleik Gray or JaCoby Stevens, who are without question important to UT's '17 class.
In his first two full classes, Jones proved he could start strong and space out commits. Just last month, he showed with the '16 haul that he can close strong.
What will Tennessee's 2017 class look like when all is said and done? That's anybody's guess. But let's take a look at the Vols' top five early targets based on need, geography and sheer playmaking ability of the prospects.