The transfer portal window closes today, but when it comes to Tennessee football on the recruiting trail, other news dominated the airways on Off The Hook Sports’ Wednesday, Jan. 18 podcast. Caleb Calhoun and Dave Hooker also discussed Josh Heupel’s offense, and Ron Slay joined to talk some basketball before they dove into history in their final segment.
ON3 updated rankings include three Vols in top 50
Quarterback Nico Iamaleava is the No. 1 ranked player nationally, and two other Tennessee football commits are in the top 50. Defensive end Daevin Hobbs came in at No. 29, and wide receiver Nathan Leacock came in at No. 45. UT boasted about the rankings on Twitter.
Was this a bit too arrogant? As Caleb Jarreau writes here, Tennessee football is still significantly behind the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs in terms of recruits. Alabama has three top 10 ON3 players, and this is who the Vols have to compete with.
Josh Heupel runs an offense that helps them make up for their talent gap, and they have the perfect quarterback to run it now, but can Heupel ever actually close the talent gap? Also, is his offense conducive to closing the talent gap, or will it have limitations when it gets there? All of these are real questions that suggest UT got too far ahead of itself with this tweet.
Ron Slay talks Tennessee basketball
Former Vol Ron Slay joined the podcast in the second segment to discuss the state of the Vols basketball program. The first topic was a look back on their loss at home to the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, a game they shouldn’t have lost as a top five team hosting an unranked team.
However, the Vols did rebound with a 70-59 win at the Mississippi State Bulldogs Tuesday night. Slay discussed what that said about the Vols’ character, particularly with Santiago Vescovi and Tyreke Key out. He also discussed what Vescovi’s injury means for UT going forward.
Where 2022 ranks among overachieving Tennessee football teams
As Calhoun wrote Tuesday night, the 2022 season is among the top five overachieving seasons in Tennessee football history dating back to when the AP Poll began doing its preseason rankings in 1950. Only four other times did the Vols begin the year unranked and finish in the top 10.
Included in this discussion is a look back on the other four teams along with the 2022 teams and if they should be reranked. How beloved are each of these teams, and did they really overachieve, or did pollsters and experts simply not do the research they should have done?