Make it two high-end running backs that the Vols have added in the past week.
Star junior college prospect Alvin Kamara officially signed with the Vols earlier this week and Tennessee added another piece to the puzzle via commitment on Friday afternoon when New Orleans, La., running back Kendall Bussey, rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, chose the Vols over Texas A&M, Nebraska and many other offers.
“I just loved Knoxville,’’ Bussey told NOLA.com after making his decision. “I was astonished. I never got why, but it always had a special place in my heart. Not many people are able to live out their dream and play for their dream school. I saw the opportunity and I felt that I had to seize it.
“Tennessee kind of came on late in the process, but ever since they have coach Jones and (running backs) coach (Robert) Gillespie have been on me.’’
Bussey originally committed to Nebraska and re-considered the Cornhuskers when making this selection. Speed is the most important part of Bussey’s game. At 5-foot-8 and approximately 190 pounds, he may not be suited to be an every-down type of back, but the product of Isidore Newman High School, the same school Peyton Manning attended, brings some explosive capabilities to a Tennessee backfield that is lacking depth.
“He is a solidly built back that plays with acceptable strength,” ESPN.com wrote in a scouting report. “Playing speed is good as he can accelerate and run away from defenders.”
The Vols are in need of depth in the backfield after three running backs – Derrell Scott (transfer), Treyvon Paulk (dismissed) and Justus Pickett (academics) – are all no longer with the team. Tennessee will also lose seniors Marlin Lane and Devrin Young to graduation following the 2014 season.
Freshman Jalen Hurd (777 yards) took on the majority of the rushing load in 2014, but hasn’t had much consistent depth behind him. Kamara and Bussey give the Vols some speedy options to match up with the bigger Hurd over the next couple of year.
Tennessee also currently has a commitment from Concord, N.C., prospect Rocky Reid and has been pursuing four-star prospect Bryce Love as well.
For more analysis and film of Bussey, click here for his full RTI recruiting profile.