NCF Nation: Bill Bates

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 Insider 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.

SEC in the headlines

July, 9, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

Some of what's out there in SEC land as we count down the days to the start of practice in early August:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an interesting picture look at what some of the principals on this year's Georgia team looked like back in the day, even coach Mark Richt.

The Kentucky players have given the nod to Mike Hartline this summer in the Wildcats' quarterback race when it comes to leadership and work ethic, but offensive coordinator Joker Phillips tells Chip Cosby of the Lexington Herald-Leader that Curtis Pulley will still get his shot come August.

Columnist Rick Cleveland of the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger caught up with former Tennessee and Dallas Cowboys star Bill Bates recently. It didn't take long for Herschel Walker's name to come up.