Josh Heupel Moves Into Top 40 of Sporting News Head Coach Rankings

Tennessee Volunteer Head Coach Josh Heupel has moved into the top-40 in Sporting News Annual Head Coach Rankings.
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"I'm excited about what we're embarking on," Josh Heupel said during his introductory press conference at Tennessee. "I'm excited to be a part of Vol Nation. I'm excited to do my very best for the state of Tennessee every single day. I promise you that our staff will do the exact same thing and I promise you that we are going to embark on becoming what we're capable of becoming as a football program day-by-day and chasing and winning championships."

Now, Heupel is less than 50 days away from entering his first year on the job in Knoxville and fourth as a head ball coach. To this point, Heupel has enjoyed success, as he boasts a 28-8 all-time record from his three years prior at UCF. He was a 2018 Coach of the Year finalist, and he made a bowl game in each season.

Now, Heupel enters new territory as head coach in the Southeastern Conference, but he has already experienced high-level success as a play-caller during his time as an offensive coordinator at Missouri, so he understands the demands of the nation's top conference.

Sporting News recently released their preseason coaches ranking, and Heupel trended upward on the list. The new Tennessee coach moved from 46 to 39. For reference, the 39th spot last preseason was filled by Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin, who moved up to 26th ahead of 2021. The two will face off in Neyland Stadium later this fall.

Heupel faces an arduous task in Knoxville as the uncertainty of NCAA sanctions still swirls around the program, and he has to flip a roster and make it his while playing against one of the nation's most rigid schedules in 2021. Below is the list from 130-26. To see the top 25, click here.

130. Maurice Linguist, Buffalo (NR)

129. Will Hall, Southern Miss (NR)

128. Kane Wommack, South Alabama (NR)

127. Charles Huff, Marshall (NR)

126. Marcus Arroyo, UNLV (119)

125. Tom Arth, Akron (130)

124. Walt Bell, Massachusetts (128)

123. Jeff Scott, South Florida (124)

122. Ricky Rahne, Old Dominion (118)

121. Dana Dimel, UTEP (126)

120. Doug Martin, New Mexico State (113)

119. Mike Bloomgren, Rice (122)

118. Danny Gonzales, New Mexico (127)

117. Randy Edsall, UConn (120)

116. Scott Loeffler, Bowling Green (115)

115. Jake Spavital, Texas State (117)

114. Thomas Hammock, Northern Illinois (109)

113. Terry Bowden, Louisiana-Monroe (NR)

112. Andy Avalos, Boise State (NR)

111. Chip Lindsey, Troy (107)

110. Shawn Elliott, Georgia State (98)

109. Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State (105)

108. Seth Littrell, North Texas (104)

107. Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan (100)

106. Kalen DeBoer, Fresno State (125)

105. Steve Addazio, Colorado State (81)

104. Will Healy, Charlotte (102)

103. Rod Carey, Temple (70)

102. Mike Houston, East Carolina (114)

101. Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky (94)

100. Jeff Traylor, UTSA (129)

99. Willie Taggart, FAU (83)

98. Chuck Martin, Miami (92)

97. Willie Fritz, Tulane (87)

96. Blake Anderson, Utah State (91)

95. Dana Holgorsen, Houston (90)

94. Butch Davis, FIU (67)

93. Craig Bohl, Wyoming (74)

92. Sean Lewis, Kent State (103)

91. Brady Hoke, San Diego State (76)

90. Jim McElwain, Central Michigan (72)

89. Philip Montgomery, Tulsa (111)

88. Butch Jones, Arkansas State (NR)

87. Tim Lester, Western Michigan (99)

86. Mike Neu, Ball State (110)

85. Jay Norvell, Nevada (93)

84. Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern (97)

83. Todd Graham, Hawaii (95)

82. Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech (66)

81. Brent Brennan, San Jose State (121)

80. Jason Candle, Toledo (88)

79. Jedd Fisch, Arizona (NR)

78. Jonathan Smith, Oregon State (77)

77. Clark Lea, Vanderbilt, (NR)

76. Dino Babers, Syracuse (55)

75. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy (51)

74. Troy Calhoun, Air Force (84)

73. Sonny Dykes, SMU (69)

72. Dave Aranda, Baylor (63)

71. Ryan Silverfield, Memphis (108)

70. Shawn Clark, Appalachian State (116)

68. Matt Wells, Texas Tech (60)

67. Mike Norvell, Florida State (45)

66. Shane Beamer, South Carolina (NR)

65. Nick Rolovich, Washington State (65)

64. Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech (57)

64. Bret Bielema, Illinois (NR)

63. Mel Tucker, Michigan State (54)

62. Mike Locksley, Maryland (79)

61. Greg Schiano, Rutgers (80)

60. Jimmy Lake, Washington (64)

59. Karl Dorrell, Colorado (96)

58. Jeff Brohm, Purdue (49)

57. Jeff Monken, Army (85)

56. Sam Pittman, Arkansas (75)

55. Frank Solich, Ohio (61)

54. Bill Clark, UAB (52)

53. Billy Napier, Louisiana (82)

52. Jeff Hafley, Boston College (59)

51. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech (42)

50. Chip Kelly, UCLA (53)

49. Scott Frost, Nebraska (35)

48. Chris Klieman, Kansas State (33)

47. Justin Wilcox, Cal (48)

46. Kalani Sitake, BYU (86)

45. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt (40)

44. David Cutcliffe, Duke (32)

43. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest (31)

42. Lance Leipold, Kansas (71)

41. Neal Brown, West Virginia (37)

40. Steve Sarkisian, Texas (NR)

39. Josh Heupel, Tennessee (46)

38. Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina (112)

37. Scott Satterfield, Louisville (28)

36. Gus Malzahn, UCF (13)

35. Bryan Harsin, Auburn (44)

34. Herm Edwards, Arizona State (30)

33. Eli Drinkwitz, Missouri (58)

32. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia (24)

31. Manny Diaz, Miami (56)

30. Hugh Freeze, Liberty (47)

29. Dave Doeren, N.C. State (43)

28. Mike Leach, Mississippi State (19)

27. P.J. Fleck, Minnesota (23)

26. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss (39)