- Advertisement -

Tennessee five-star QB commit is proof that Vols don’t have to recruit everyone like Nico Iamaleava

- Advertisement -

There’s no questioning that quarterback Nico Iamaleava’s decision to sign with Tennessee was the ultimate recruiting coup. There’s no argument that he is the the most significant player that coach Josh Heupel has signed in his three years as a Vol. However, don’t discount George MacIntyre.

Iamaleava’s and MacIntyre’s recruitments were about as different as one could imagine. Iamaleava was the California signee with swag. MacIntyre is the home-grown prospect with humility. Other than being five-star quarterback prospects, the two don’t have very much in common except for an affinity for Tennessee.

Saying Iamaleava has swag is certainly not meant as a criticism of Iamaleava, who by all accounts is humble and confident, but not cocky. However, it’s readily apparent when meeting Iamaleava that he’s not your average dude. In the meantime, MacIntyre seems like he could be the guy bagging your groceries. No matter their demeanors, the MacIntyre commitment and how his recruitment played out should get Tennessee fans almost excited as Iamaleava. No, seriously. Why?

The Vols had to pay a reported $2-million per year to snag Iamaleava. There has been no such talk of extravagant payments to MacIntyre, which means one of two things. Either the Vols and its collectives have learned to be less boastful with their NIL payments or Tennessee didn’t need a big pile of cash to land MacIntyre, who is from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy. It certainly looks like the latter, which is a must for any program. NIL is great, but there needs to be more. Tennessee has that.

The Vols won over MacIntyre, in part, with their team culture. Sure, MacIntyre grew up a Tennessee fan and is an in-state prospect. However, I doubt seriously he would have signed with the majority of the coaches that preceded Heupel. If MacIntyre can recognize Cover Two, he should be able to recognize a coach who is in over his head as was the case pre-Heup.

- Advertisement -

I’m sure that MacIntyre was promised something in terms of NIL cash, but I doubt seriously it was anywhere in the Iamaleava range. Why? Because it didn’t have to be. Unlike when Iamaleava signed with the Vols, Heupel’s crew is more proven on and off the field. There’s also a trend that could undermine Heupel and Tennessee’s ability to overly lean on NIL in high school recruiting. Why? Because that’s not where the money is – and needs to be – spent.

Tennessee and other schools were faced with some serious dilemmas during this past recruiting cycles. NIL money spent so freely in high school recruiting now had to be spent on players to coax them to return to Tennessee for another season. There were several Vols that deserved a payout, led by senior center Cooper Mays. Then, there’s that transfer portal.

The transfer portal is the second-best way to spend NIL funds nowadays. That’s a way to fill holes on an otherwise competent roster. John Campbell Jr., who transferred from Miami, was a great example of that last season as he was immediately named the starter at left tackle after showing up on campus last season.

Tennessee still has top-tier NIL funds to utilize in order to land an elite prospect and I’m sure that will continue to be standard operating procedure. However, taking a chance on a high school prospect with a high price tag, like Iamaleava, is risky. The Vols seemingly have struck gold with Iamaleava, but do the Vols want to continue to promise huge sums of money to high school players? Surely not.

Current players and transfers are more proven than high school prospects. Therefore, tying oneself up with high school prospects who are demanding hefty NIL promises can be burdensome. Tennessee coaches can sell their recent record of turning out NFL players, team culture or the Vol Walk if they want, but NIL alone isn’t the way to build a team.

High school prospects, especially from within the state, should want to come to Tennessee for the other things that Heupel has built, like MacIntyre did. 

- Advertisement -

Latest YouTube Videos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcast

- Advertisement -

More Podcasts

- Advertisement -