Pearl calls his freshmen his best signing class ever. That means, "watch out, SEC."
Cameron Tatum is a guy who will help him this year. I know the focus is on Scotty Hopson, but Tatum might be just as good. As a redshirt freshman, Tatum has not played in the SEC before, so Pearl will have plenty of new weapons to use this year.
And Hopson can score the basketball. Negedu might be a guy utilized like Tyler Smith. If his point guard play is where he needs it to be, Pearl will be able to utilize his full-court pressure system, and rotate players in and out of the line-up.
Pearl apparently has some skill as a speaker, too.
I expect UT to win the SEC this year, despite the loss of Lofton and Smith.