Shortly after national signing day in February, USC’s official Instagram account released a video clip in which you can hear someone (presumed by many to be former Vol quarterback Tee Martin, now a wide receiver’s coach with USC) describe recent Vol early enrollee Jalen Hurd as “so soft and terrible”.
We’re not sure if the comment was made in jest, with a hint of sarcasm or with a touch of jealousy, but there’s no doubt what was said.
There’s also no doubt that it’s absolutely incorrect.
Jalen Hurd missed all but one game of his senior season in high school after tearing his labrum during the team’s opener. The injury occurred early in the game. Hurd briefly exited the game, but then returned to not only finish the game, but accumulate 177 rushing yards on 21 carries. He also came down with an interception.
Clearly he’s not “so soft and terrible”.
Tennessee Offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian made no bones about Hurd’s physical running style on Thursday after practice.
Mike Bajakian on Jalen Hurd: I like his physicality. Does not shy away from contact at all, puts his face in the fan almost too aggressively at times.
Running back coach Robert Gillespie echoed Bajakian’s sentiments.
Robert Gillespie on Jalen Hurd: Very athletic. His ceiling- the things he’s going to be able to do before he leaves here are huge. We’re excited about him. What he brings to the table, the competition level has risen. I think we still have to be mindful that he’s a freshman. There’s a lot going in. His head’s spinning a little bit, but he’s a competitor, wants to learn and he comes out and competes every day.
The Vols’ offensive coaches, as you’d probably imagine, are obviously thrilled with their new offensive weapon.
Jalen Hurd will bring a bruising style of running to this team that’s been missing. Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane were both natural lateral runners. Hurd will complement Lane’s style in a way we haven’t seen in the past couple of years.
The Vols’ ground game should be much more effective this season. Having a running back like Hurd is essential for having success in the SEC.
Hurd will likely be a star in the SEC. There’s nothing “soft” about that prediction.
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