The rest of the SEC and some other major college football programs are represented on the resumes of Tennessee's first-year coaching staff.

From the top down, Tennessee's new coaches have recruited at some of the most elite programs in the sport, and those chops seem to be showing so far with the Vols enjoying a productive summer on the recruiting trail.

Tennessee currently sits 14th nationally and fifth in the SEC in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings, and the Vols’ average recruit rating based on the industry-generated 247Sports Composite also ranks 14th nationally after the Vols picked up 10 commitments in June and July.

There's still a long way to go between now and December and February, and how Tennessee performs on the field could have a say in where the Vols stand when the dust settles on the 2019 class. But it’s so far, so good this cycle, which Chris Rumph attributes to the quality of coaches on Tennessee's experienced staff.

"Before somebody can believe the shirt that you're wearing, they have to believe the man that's wearing the shirt," the co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach said last week. "Throughout the years, speaking for myself and some of the other guys as well, we have a great reputation as a man first. It doesn't matter what shirt you put on, but when you put this shirt on, it just enhances the product and yourself."

Rumph has coached at Alabama, Clemson, Florida and Texas. Defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer and offensive line coach Will Friend coached at Georgia, while defensive line coach Tracy Rocker previously worked at Auburn, Georgia, Arkansas and Ole Miss and cornerbacks coach Terry Fair played at Tennessee. Wide receivers coach David Johnson and safeties coach Charles Kelly are new to the SEC but have coached and recruited within the conference's footprints at previous stops.

Running point on Tennessee's recruiting operation is head coach Jeremy Pruitt, a former 247Sports Recruiter of the Year who displayed his prowess on the trail at Alabama, Florida State and Georgia.


Tennessee's new staff is trusting its own approach to recruiting, and only three programs with first-year coaches (No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 5 Oregon and No. 9 Florida State) are ranked ahead of the Vols right now, and none of those teams won just four games and went winless in conference play in 2017.

Rumph said the combination of the quality of the selling and the quality of the product have attributed to Tennessee's positive recruiting this summer.

"It speaks about, first, this place, because this is what you're selling," he said. "And like I said earlier, it speaks volumes about the man that's selling the product. We've been going in some of those high schools and knowing them high school coaches for years. If we've gotten a kid from them, we take care of him. Or if we didn't, we were respectful to him and his program as well."