When Tennessee head football coach Phillip Fulmer was being carried off of Shields-Watkins field after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats in his final game leading his beloved Volunteers, there were likely a multitude of thoughts flying through his head. However, going on to become the Athletic Director at the university that just forced him to resign was likely not one of them, and the path of unfortunate events that led to his return to Rocky Top likely would have sent him into a state of shock if you had told him. But despite the way Fulmer’s tenure ended in Knoxville, the stars aligned perfectly for his return, and when he was brought back in hopes of stopping the bleeding from one of the worst coaching searches in the history of collegiate athletics, he turned to a young defensive mastermind to fill the vacancy of one of the most storied programs in College Football — the same job that had once belonged to him.
It seems as if it was eons ago when Fulmer hired Pruitt, but after just concluding his 2nd season on Rocky Top — entering his 3rd — fans of the Volunteers are seemingly optimistic about the future of the program under the former Alabama defensive coordinator. In fact, Tennessee’s fans aren’t the only ones who are vocal about their faith in Jeremy Pruitt, as Fulmer also made a claim that the future was bright in Knoxville: “The Vols are back, before long, we’ll be taking a bite out of everybody we play’s (expletive).”
— Marshall Hughes (@marshallhughes) February 6, 2020
Fulmer’s comments— which were made during Tennessee’s annual ‘National Signing Day Celebration’— are a very good representation of where the Volunteers’ program is at the moment: a 6-game winning streak, which is good for the 2nd longest active streak in the nation, trailing only the National Champion LSU Tigers.
In addition to the long winning streak, Jeremy Pruitt was able to bring in — arguably — one of the best recruiting classes since Tennessee’s 2015 class. Tennessee’s class is currently ranked 7th in the nation according to Rivals, 9th according to 247Sports, and 10th according to 247Sports Composite — which averages all of the major recruiting services together.
In the end, College Football is a very unpredictable business, but it appears as if the clouds could finally be parting in Knoxville and bright days may be ahead. With an elite recruiting class on the horizon, and massive momentum currently in front of the Volunteers, Phillip Fulmer may just be right, Tennessee could — finally— be on the right track to restoring the dynasty that once thrived on Rocky Top during his tenure.