Know the things fans and media make fun of coaches for saying? Butch Jones actually says them.
After explaining away a season in which Tennessee was picked to win the SEC East title but lost that crown to Florida in a season in which the Vols beat Florida by saying his players were “Champions of Life”, Jones was at it again on Thursday.
Speaking to a group of Vols fans at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, Jones explained away a class in which his program finished 17th nationally but sixth in the SEC, per the 247Sports Composite Rankings, stating he didn’t care about stars.
“We’ve spoken about the competitive nature, and I think that’s really, really big in today’s world,” Jones said, according to GoVols247. Everyone gets into the whole two-star, three-star, four-star, five-star thing. The only five-star that we even concern ourselves with is a five-star heart.
“We want five-star hearts and five-star competitors.”
Raise your hand if you believe Coach Cliche would’ve offered the same quote had he signed Alabama’s class, which boasted six 5-stars among its 29 signees. Tennessee inked one 5-star and 28 total signatures to earn its No. 17 ranking, which, on its face, is by no means a poor class in any other conference except the SEC. However, that class ranked in the middle-of-the-pack in the SEC and ranks as the worst class Jones has signed since recruiting for a full year in Knoxville.
“We’ve got a lot of hungry younger players that are very, very competitive,” Jones said. “There may not be a quote, unquote star, but I think we have more depth than we’ve ever had. We’ll be more competitive than we’ve ever been.
“We’ve had the best offseason so far that we’ve had since we’ve been here.”