It’s a big weekend for Tennessee football. Early enrollees made headlines by withdrawing. Just as that happens, Josh Heupel is also having a massive recruiting weekend for 2023, receiving a ton of top prospects in the process as part of Junior Day.
Presumably, many of the prospects will be taken to the Saturday night game of Tennessee basketball with the LSU Tigers. It’s a huge top 25 matchup that you would think could wipe out a lot of these prospects and make them want to go to Rocky Top.
However, in the most unfortunate timing possible for Tennessee football, the Tennessee Titans happened to have their first NFL Playoff game scheduled against the Cincinnati Bengals at 4:30 PM. With a tip for the 6pm game, you must be wondering how packed Thompson-Boling Arena will be.
Chances are the stadium will look empty for at least the first half, and you have to wonder how full it will be in the second half. After all, while some students and fans may want to see the second half, there will inevitably be others who would have gone but decided not to go at all due to the inconvenience.
This bad timing is clearly no one’s fault. Anyone who lives in Tennessee and is a fan of both teams would of course choose to watch the Titans as their game is much bigger. It’s a shame, however, that the data has to align like this.
Tons of stars are on campus for Junior Day, including wide receiver Carnell Tate, professional style quarterback Christopher Vizzina, tight ending Ethan Davis and offensive tackle Brycen Sanders. All four players are four stars or better for all services.
Other players who have four stars on at least one of the services of Rivals, 247Sports, ESPN and On3 are also on campus. They include offensive guard Paris Patterson Jr. (rivals), athlete Max Carroll (Rival), cornerback Ethan Nation (all but On3), and wide receiver Devin Hyatt (all but On3), the brother of current UT wide receiver Jalin Hyatt.
Given how big an off-season visiting day is for Tennessee Football, there’s no way to think this Titans game won’t work against them. Full-capacity Thompson-Boling Arena is a huge selling point, as the Vols have one of the best basketball fan bases in the SEC.
One way this could work for everyone, though, is if the Titans actually win and their fans celebrate that night in Knoxville. Such an atmosphere could be another way to clear out recruits and make up for what could have been a disappointing showing at the basketball game.
The LSU game that’s on ESPN won’t be enough to save this one. Hip and co. find other ways to sell Tennessee football to these recruits. You could say that if low attendance at a basketball game keeps these kids away, they wouldn’t choose UT anyway, but it still works against the Vols.