Jarrett Guarantano may be Tennessee football’s quarterback, but Ty Chandler is the top junior on this list. And he’s probably the guy most likely to leave early for the NFL Draft after this year given what he can do.
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Last year, while Tim Jordan, Madre London, Jeremy Banks and the passing game all got passes for their limited numbers due to the poor play on the offensive line, Chandler still managed to come through. He had five and a half yards a carry, rushing for 630 yards.
On top of that, Chandler scored seven total touchdowns, including becoming the first running back in UT history to have three receiving touchdowns in three straight games. Add in his 22 yards a kickoff return and kickoff return TD in 2017, and Chandler is the deadliest player on Rocky Top with the ball in his hands.
The only crime last year was him not getting the ball enough. Jeremy Pruitt does like to go three-deep and four-deep on running backs, and Banks, Jordan and now Carlin Fils-Aime are all there, while Eric Gray is showing his own level of greatness in practice.
But Chandler needs to get the overwhelming bulk of the touches. He’s too great, and now reports are out that he ran a 4.3 40-time in the summer. So his shiftiness combined with speed and strength make it clear he should be the top guy.
Despite Pruitt’s desires, Jim Chaney has a history of making sure the top playmakers get the ball as much as possible. Chandler is that for Tennessee football this year, so Chaney will likely find whatever way possible to get Chandler all the touches he can get him. He’s easily UT’s top junior.