Tennessee football returns one of its best playmakers at running back for 2019. Here is a preview of the Volunteers overall at the position.
While Tennessee football has always revered its quarterbacks more than many other SEC programs, the Vols have a history of elite running backs waiting their turn to become stars. And that dates back to the 1980s.
Johnnie Jones, Reggie Cobb and Chuck Webb helped get things going in the 1980s. Tony Thompson started off the 1990s followed by the four horsemen of Mose Phillips, Aaron Hayden, Charlie Garner and James Stewart. Then there was Jay Graham, followed by Jamal Lewis, Travis Henry and Travis Stephens.
Even as the program took a downward turn, Cedric Houston, Gerald Riggs Jr., Arian Foster, Montario Hardesty, Tauren Poole and Rajion Neal all had 1,000-yard seasons. And of course, recently there was Jalen Hurd, who was mishandled by Butch Jones, and Alvin Kamara and John Kelly, who were just grossly underused by Butch Jones.
Simply put, Tennessee football has a long history of producing elite running backs, even through their down periods. Now, though, the Vols are trying to get back to properly using them under Jeremy Pruitt, and the addition of Jim Chaney should help.
UT only loses one guy from a year ago, Madre London. However, he was their only reliable power back, so Pruitt’s desire to go four-deep with a short-yardage guy could be in jeopardy. As we get set to preview the position for 2019, that will be a part of our discussion.
We’ll also talk about the top playmakers at the position and what the rotation should look like. Our final two slides will include the Vols’ biggest questions at the position and a final take of how things are shaping up to be as a whole.
While Jarrett Guarantano gets a lot of preseason hype along with the UT receivers, running back is going to be a key position. Last year, the Vols were one of the worst rushing teams in the nation, but that was largely due to their offensive line, and their backs had decent averages.
So what are things looking like this year? Who are the standout names in the backfield? Let’s take a look at that here with our preview of the running backs for Tennessee football heading into the 2019 season.