Jones said if you want to be the best, you've got to compete against the best, and that's why he wanted to coach in the SEC.
By the end of the summer, Independence's Vic Wharton had a question for Cincinnati's football coaching staff.
After attending the Bearcats camp and growing close to the coaches, Wharton was on the verge of committing to the school.
"When I left camp I asked if they were sure they were going to be there," said Wharton, a junior who plays several positions on offense, defense and special teams. "It was just because of how fond I was of those coaches and how they made me feel welcomed. Coach (Butch) Jones does a good job of emphasizing the word family and making it known that the football team is a family."
Wharton held off on his commitment at that time. But after Jones accepted the Tennessee coaching position and brought five of his assistants from Cincinnati along, Wharton said his decision was made.
He got an offer last week and committed to the Vols on Christmas Day. He is the first player to commit to Tennessee's 2014 recruiting class.
"With Tennessee being the home state team for me, it has always had a place in my heart," Wharton said. "And then for coach Jones to take that job and with him being my favorite coach, it was just crazy. I just had to commit."
Wharton's uncle Brandon was a standout at Overton who played basketball at Tennessee from 1995-99.
Wharton said he also received offers from Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Purdue and Louisiana-Lafayette.
He said he was recruited by former Vols coach Derek Dooley but didn't receive an offer.
Wharton, 6-0, 170 pounds, completed 32 of 57 passes for 399 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He had 330 yards rushing on 60 carries with three TDs and 330 receiving yards on 21 catches and four TDs.
He recorded 43 tackles, had two interceptions and blocked two field goals. He returned 22 kickoffs for a 29.8-yard average and two TDs and 14 punts for a 20.9-yard average and three TDs.
Wharton said UT's coaches told him they plan to use him at several positions.
"They recruited me as a slot receiver and they want me to still return kicks and punts," Wharton said. "They also told me I could even play in the nickel package in the secondary on defense."