Is Heupel finally through playing catch-up with the Vols?

Tennessee Athletics photo by Andrew Ferguson / Tennessee first-year football coach Josh Heupel finally sounded like someone who wasn't playing catch-up earlier this week when he discussed the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes.

Is Josh Heupel all caught up?

Life has been one continuous chase for the first-year football coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, who was hired in late January amid a university investigation into rules violations that resulted in the firing of predecessor Jeremy Pruitt. A 7-5 regular season with a Dec. 30 date against Purdue in the Music City Bowl certainly exceeded expectations, as did Wednesday's top-15 national class of early signees.

Heupel hasn't been overly specific when fielding questions about whether the program is on or ahead of schedule, instead sticking to the blanket goal of his Vols becoming as good as possible as quickly as possible. Yet during Wednesday afternoon's news conference to address the 20 new signees, he seemed more than giddy when asked about turning the recruiting page.