- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Ultimately, Butch Jones will have to get it done on the field as coach at Tennessee, but it's hard to knock anything he's done off it to this point leading up to his first season in Knoxville.
In particular, Jones and his staff are making things happen on the recruiting trail and landed a commitment from ESPN 150 linebacker Dillon Bates on Wednesday night. Bates, who's from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., is the son of former Dallas Cowboys player Bill Bates, who's from Knoxville and played his college football at Tennessee. The younger Bates is ranked by ESPN as the No. 3 outside linebacker in the country and had narrowed his choices to Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.
The Vols now have commitments from three of ESPN's top 100 prospects nationally, and all three have ties to the state of Tennessee or the university. Jalen Hurd is from Hendersonville, Tenn., and ranked as the No. 6 running back in the country. Todd Kelly Jr. is from Knoxville, and his father, Todd Kelly, was a defensive end for the Vols before going on to play in the NFL. The younger Kelly is ranked as the No. 5 safety in the country.
In ESPN's latest class rankings, Tennessee is No. 6 nationally. The only SEC schools higher are Alabama at No. 2 and Texas A&M at No. 4.
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