What a day and time we live in. One week we’re talking about how Jalen Hurts, the former starting QB for Alabama, who was benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa after he put on a show in the 2017 National Championship game, comes off the bench and wins the SEC Championship almost a year later to the day. He has been praised for his ability to endure and stay with the team, yet this week we find ourselves reacting to the news that former No. 1 overall recruit Justin Fields is transferring from Georgia. Some might chalk it up that he’s an immature, impatient kid who wants to play now, how he failed to beat out Jake Fromm, and he didn’t get his way. Others may see it as a mistake, but regardless of the how you see it, my honest question is, “Can you blame him?” College football is a business, just like the NFL, and regardless of what sales pitch or promise is made to a recruit, the business is going to run how the Head Coach sees fit. Players have to do what is best for them to maximize their time on the field, regardless of what uniform they might have on.
Justin Fields got on the field at times for the Bulldogs and showed his God-given talents, arm strength, athleticism, but frankly Jake Fromm is the better QB in the here and now. Time will tell where Fields ends up, but when the news broke that Fields was transferring, social media blew up. There is no doubt in my mind that every High School football player, regardless of how many stars are next to their name, took notice.
As we approach the Early Signing Period, the news of Fields’ transfer could work in the favor of many schools, and Tennessee might be the biggest benefactor. As we know, Jeremy Pruitt and recruiting staff have had a proposal for players that some SEC schools don’t have the ability to offer right now – “Play now in the SEC and play for a long time.” That is a serious plus for the Vols when they’re recruiting with the likes of Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and a long list of other coaches in the SEC.
This Vols team was weak in the trenches in 2018 and guys like Wanya Morris, Darnell Wright, and Jackson Lampley will have the opportunity to come in early and make a name for themselves early on in their time on Rocky Top. Not to mention the skill players like Javonta Payton and Jaylen Ellis could come in quick and find a role to compliment the size and physicality of JaJuan Jennings in the passing game. That applies to a guy like Nick Figueroa as well. With guys like Kyle Phillips, Jonathan Kongbo, and, Shy Tuttle graduating, Figueroa could get early looks on the defensive line and make his time count with the Vols. Not sure if USC or UCLA could offer him the same opportunity.
For these players to open up their Twitter and see that Fields, the best QB in the 2018 class, is now transferring after signing on with a history recruiting class for Georgia, there is no doubt that this raises questions for some of these athletes. The only bad news is that with it happening so close to the opening of signing day, these players may feel like they need to stay where they are, but fact of the matter is, you know Coach Pruitt and his staff were up late last night talking to the recruits who are on the fence about their decision.
The future is bright for ole Rocky Top football, and I believe this 2019 class is going to be historic. The decade of dysfunction may be coming to a close, and this recruiting class could be one of the final nails in the coffin to close the casket on a tiresome ten years. We will see soon enough for an exciting day approaches. As always Vol Nation, Go Big Orange!