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Report Card: Tennessee’s 2014 Season

Jalen Hurd-1-2

 Running Backs

Daniel: Welcome to the SEC, Jalen Hurd. Overshadowed nationally by a few other super freshmen, that doesn’t change the fact that Hurd lived up to and in many ways exceeded his lofty expectations. Hurd looked like a seasoned veteran by the end of the season, collecting over 1,000 total yards of offense despite missing most of the Vanderbilt game due to injury and not even starting the first few games of the season. Finding consistent depth behind Hurd was the biggest issue. Senior Marlin Lane, who entered the season as the starter, was never truly healthy all season and managed just 300 yards on the season with two of his best performances coming at the end of the season against Vanderbilt and Iowa. Freshman Treyvon Paulk was dismissed before ever appearing in a game and freshman Derrell Scott only played in two games after battling injures before leaving the team after the season. Devrin Young, who also missed a chunk of the season with an injury, and walk-on Justus Pickett were really the only other options behind Hurd and, at times, Lane. Grade: B

Houston: Jalen Hurd will be an absolute star for Tennessee and his freshman season proved it. While depth charts offered conflicting reports, Hurd was Tennessee’s starting running back for most of the season and gave this offense a toughness and determination that had been missing for a long time. An ankle injury to Marlin Lane over the summer would nag him all season, but the senior gave this team some tough running and critical yards in a must-win game against Vanderbilt to earn bowl eligibility. With the struggles of Tennessee’s offensive line taken into account, this group got everything they could and more this year. Depth issues and injuries were present from day one, but credit this group for battling all season long. Grade: B

Reed: Jalen Hurd exceeded even my lofty expectations for him. He proved to be a punishing runner as the season progressed and amassed over 1,000 total yards of offense. His vision got better and better with each game and, if healthy, he should have a massive year in 2015. Marlin Lane, Devrin Young and Derrell Scott all struggled with injuries and weren’t able to consistently produce behind Hurd. Though Lane didn’t have the kind of season most expected, he was able to battle through injuries and help the team. He made a few big plays in key situations and proved to be an adept blocker. Overall, the Vol ground attack improved as the season progressed thanks largely to Jalen Hurd’s emergence as a potential rising star in the SEC. Grade: B

Average Grade: B

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