5’11” 206 pounds; Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Really nobody is in a better position to burst onto the scene for Tennessee football this year than Jabari Small. The all-purpose in-state back out of Shelby County’s Briarcrest Christian School is the only returning running back who had any carries last year.
Backing up Eric Gray and Ty Chandler, Small had 26 carries for 117 yards and four catches for 24 yards. His 26 carries are the most of any returning player, running back or quarterback. Although he only averaged four and a half yards a carry, it’s safe to say that the limitations in the passing game last year made it difficult to get anything going.
Small certainly has competition this year in guys like junior college transfer Tiyon Evans, elite speedster Jalyen Wright and power backs Len’Neth Whitehead, Tee Hodge and Dee Beckwith. However, for Josh Heupel’s system, he’s the perfect type of player to be one of the feature backs, even if Evans plays as much of a role.
Because of that, expect Small to be a huge part of the offense. He’ll likely be more involved in the passing game than Evans, which increases his chances to be a breakout player, and as the main back in the spring, he also has a certain familiarity with Heupel’s offense.