After Pruitt fired, Phillip Fulmer says University of Tennessee football 'recruiting has been good'
Phillip Fulmer might want this one back.
Fulmer, along with UT Chancellor Donde Plowman and university president Randy Boyd, took questions during Monday's press conference announcing Jeremy Pruitt's firing for cause amid an ongoing investigation of sweeping NCAA violations that occurred under Pruitt’s watch.
Fulmer, who will retire as athletics director once his replacement is hired, answered a broad question about what he will take away from Pruitt's three-year tenure with a eyebrow-raising answer.
"We found the program in quite a mess at the time," Fulmer said. "I think we definitely have upgraded the program in general, relationships on campus, relationships period. Certainly, the recruiting has been good. There's some really outstanding young men in the program, not that there wasn't before.
"There's lots of good things that have happened. This is very unfortunate in the sense that we're going to have to work really hard to keep it from setting us back."
Of course, the "good" recruiting is the very issue at hand regarding the program's internal investigation, the firings of Pruitt, assistants Brian Niedermeyer and Shelton Felton, and other staff members. The investigation has spanned at least a month, first reported during Tennessee's season finale against Texas A&M on Dec. 19.
Tennessee's recruiting has been good in Pruitt's three seasons; the Vols were 13th in the 247Sports team rankings in 2019, 10th in 2020 and 15th in 2021. It's also the source of the issues that are currently impacting the football program in a major way.