5 college football coaches under the most pressure in 2024

The dust has settled since Nick Saban announced his retirement, new coaches are in their positions and gearing up for the 2024 season. So looking at the coaching landscape, who is under the most pressure heading into the 2024 season?

Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier and Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz (15) talk during a timeout in their game against Georgia.
Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier and Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz (15) talk during a timeout in their game against Georgia. / Matt Pendleton / USA TODAY NETWORK
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. . 5. . . player. 534. Josh Heupel. Coaches under pressure. Josh Heupel

In three seasons at Tennessee, Josh Heupel has gone 27-12. Heupel went 28-8 at UCF, the school he previously coached at, but he coached in fewer games with the shortened 2020 season. In his first season with the Volunteers, Heupel went 7-6. He bounced back in his second season going 11-2, reaching the No.1 ranking for a few weeks, but fell short of the College Football Playoff. In his most recent season, Heupel put together a solid 9-4 season, hovering in the rankings, but no chance at the Playoff.

So why is Heupel under pressure? Well, let's look back a little at his UCF days. Heupel looked like a dominant coach, but he wasn't playing with his recruits. He was handed a UCF team that had just gone 13-0 coming off a big win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. This was a team that gelled together nicely, with an electric offense led by McKenzie Milton and a physical defense.

Heupel played that season with guys recruited by Scott Frost and guys with a lot of experience playing together. So, while yes he had to lead this team, he didn't have to come in and make a lot of changes. He put together another undefeated season, only losing to Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl.

So why is this important? Well as Heupel entered his second and third seasons with UCF and had to use players that he recruited, the Knights struggled. Heupel had to show his system to his players and it did not go over well. So Heupel is entering his fourth season as the Volunteers head coach and he will have to use the guys he recruited.

Tennessee had the No. 13 2024 recruiting class overall, and the No.7 class in the SEC. Heupel has the four and five-star guys, he has the talent. Will he be able to bring his team back to the glory he had in 2021, but this time make it to the Playoff? Only time will tell, but I think this year will speak volumes to Tennessee fans and Heupel needs to either deliver or head back to the drawing board.