6. Running backs
Honestly, being this high was impressive for Tennessee football’s running backs. After all, Tiyon Evans, the junior college transfer expected to be the star and the feature back for the Vols in the fall, was severely limited due to an injury. Add in the transfers of Eric Gray and Ty Chandler this past offseason, and this unit should have been depleted.
However, Jabari Small continued to make headlines as a standout performer, and that showed in the spring game with two touchdowns, even if he did average under five yards a carry. More importantly, other names popped up to suggest Josh Heupel has depth at the position.
One of the names that kept popping up was Jaylen Wright. The freshman is an elite speedster who could provide depth behind Small as the all-purpose back, and according to multiple reports, he showed flashes throughout the spring despite not being consistent. Tee Hodge’s name also popped up as the potential power back.
Despite all that, Small being the only confirmed consistent performer held this group back. Heupel needs multiple elite backs to be able to run his system, and that didn’t reveal itself in the spring. Relative to what was needed at the position, that keeps it in the bottom half of the list.