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Tennessee selection Dalton Knecht more proof that Vols are hottest AD in nation

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Looking for the Tennessee Volunteers? Turn on the television and watch sports. Chances are they’ll be there. Chances are they’ll help the Vols’ program for years to come.

Publicity is always good. That’s why the College World Series was so significant for Tennessee; success leads to more success. It’s not a coincidence that the Vols picked up a trio of commitments during the Vols’ championship run. Wait, there’s more.

The newest Vol with a nation-wide public persona is former Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht, who was selected with the 17th pick in the NFL Draft.

Knecht should be slightly disappointed. Some thought he would make big money as a lottery pick, but he’ll be fine playing for one of the most popular franchises in the world while learning from one of the greatest players of all-time, LeBron James. As for Tennessee, the Vols are better off having him in one of the biggest markets in the world.

In case you’re not the biggest NBA fan, here’s what you need to know about the Lakers. Like the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys, the Lakers are over exposed by the media. That’s fine. Knecht and Tennessee will benefit from that. The Vols will practically be all over television this upcoming sports year.

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Perhaps you’ve heard of Peyton Manning, the former Tennessee quarterback who won a couple of Super Bowls, then started one of the most interesting production companies in broadcasting, headlined by the Manning Cast, which the broadcasting world is stumbling all over themselves to replicate. Then, there’s Candace Parker.

The former Lady Vol basketball star is one of the more likeable broadcasters in television when she acts as studio host for the NCAA Tournament. She may get even more publicity soon as superstar studio host Charles Barkley recently announced his retirement from broadcasting after this year. Could Parker be in line for the NBA on TNT – or wherever the show is broadcast? It would be foolish not to give her a strong look.

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Tennessee has been fortunate with Manning, Parker and, now, Knecht when it comes to former athletes getting some camera time. However, the Vols approach on the field/court will also provide more publicity. The Vols have style.

UT football coach Josh Heupel runs an exciting system. Tennessee’s national championship baseball team is obviously exciting and aren’t afraid to show some flare. Basketball coach Rick Barnes has shown he’s willing to change and be more open to different styles of basketball with the way he used Knecht. Lady Vol basketball coach Kim Caldwell likes to use an uptempo style that fans should gravitate toward.

None of this should matter, but it does. A prospect or, now, an NIL advertiser shouldn’t solely choose a school to attend or do business with, respectively, based on “feel good” exposure, but they will. That’s just human nature.

I’m sure that Knecht wanted to be drafted higher and take home a bigger pay check for doing so. However, he’s found a great home in Los Angeles and, for the Vols, he couldn’t have gone to a better franchise.

It remains to be seen how much longer Barnes, who will be 70-years-old in July, wants to coach, but he’ll have a nice recruiting advantage for the foreseeable future. Barnes can say that he turned some kid from North Dakota into a first round draft pick. He also coached one of the greatest players of all-time: Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant. That’s a pretty good NBA resume for Barnes’ player development. That’s even more exposure for the Vols. They may not even need it in basketball.

Tennessee already has five members of the 2024 signing class that have found it beneficial to ride Knecht’s wake. All are considered four-star prospects or better. All surely considered how Barnes helped develop Knecht. The transfer portal is great for Barnes, who probably doesn’t quite recruit like he used to when he was a spring chicken. If anyone could use a boost in recruiting from overall exposure, it’s Barnes. The same could be said for Caldwell.

In her first season, Caldwell has been asked to rebuild one of the most known brands in sports. She could use all the positive publicity should can get. I’m sure there was a previous engagement, but it would have been nice to see her in Omaha, Neb., watching Game Three of the College World Series Finals. Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel and Barnes will surely benefit from the exposure.

The change in perception nationally when it comes to Tennessee fans has been quite phenomenal. Angry at the world, UT fans had a tendency to gripe a bit much. Well, there’s no need for that now. Things are going well. The Vols are all over television.

Looking for an athletic department on the rise? It’s tough to top the Vols. That’s why they just finished No. 3 in The Director’s Cup, which tracks an entire athletic department’s success. That’s Tennessee’s best ever finish and a sign of a trend, considering the Vols finished sixth the year before. Before that, things were much worse.

Tennessee hadn’t finished in the top 10 of the all-sports trophy since 2006-07 when the Vols ranked a previous-best No. 7. Make an argument that Tennessee isn’t the hottest college athletic department in nation and you might lose your voice before the shine wears off the Vols.

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One Response

  1. Has 2 coaches that are encapable of winning big football recruiting is 7 or 8 in the leaguelosy 4 league games by 78 points basketball coach can’t recruit against Duke unc Kansas and now u conn.

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