Tennessee football: North Carolina 2021 RB Jaylen Wright commits to Vols

Despite coronavirus shutting down recruiting, Tennessee football still picked up a commitment. Durham, N.C. running back Jaylen Wright chose the Volunteers.

COVID-19-related shutdowns didn’t stop Jeremy Pruitt from securing two commitments for Tennessee football on the next to last day in March, including a surprise pickup to add to the Vols’ 2020 class. As Isaiah Gaddy committed for this year, UT picked up a 2021 prospect.

North Carolina Running back Jaylen Wright announced his commitment to Rocky Top Monday. Standing at 6’0″ 185 pounds, Wright comes out of Southern High School in Durham, N.C. and is the eighth commitment in Big Orange Country’s 2021 class.

A three-star on Rivals, Wright was being targeted by multiple Power Five schools, including the Miami Hurricanes, Arizona State Sun Devils, Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Syracuse Orange. He announced his commitment to Tennessee football on Twitter.

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Despite being listed as a running back and not an all-purpose back, Wright’s value will be that he brings more speed to Tennessee football. He was a state champion in last year’s 55-meter dash, and he once ran 100 meters in 10.84 seconds, according to Ryan Callahan of GoVols247.

As the first running back in the 2021 class, Wright fills a major need for the Vols. Ty Chandler, Tim Jordan and Carlin Fils-Aime are all going to be seniors this year, leaving a major void to fill at the position for next year.

Although Eric Gray will still be on the roster while Tee Hodge and Jabari Small committed to this past class, Pruitt clearly still needs more depth at the position. Wright brings that depth. Here is a look at his highlight reel.

One look at this reel confirms Wright’s breakaway speed. However, it also shows his ability to make quit cuts and the line of scrimmage, meaning he’s got some agility and vision as well. Those are all solid attributes. When he gets to Rocky Top, he’ll need to focus on being able to handle contact, as he didn’t show much of that.

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However, Tennessee football clearly picked up a solid prospect in Wright, and Pruitt will now have three speed backs and one power back in Hodge for 2021 provided everybody stays. He’ll probably look for more help, but Wright’s commitment is a start to keeping that depth in tact.