Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

Position Preview: Running Back

Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI
Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

Gone: Ralph David Abernathy IV (graduation), Joe Young (medical)

Returning: Jalen Hurd (JR), Alvin Kamara (RS JR), John Kelly (SO), Jayson Sparks (RS SO)

Newcomers: Carlin Fils-Aime (4-star, No. 12 Running Back, per 247sports), Jeremy Lewis (3-star, No. 126 RB)


Tennessee is loaded with NFL-ready talent in the backfield, led by one of Tennessee’s all-time best backs in Jalen Hurd. Hurd averaged 99.1 yards per game in 2015, and stands just 892 yards away from UT’s all time rushing record.

What makes Hurd even more dangerous is the guy splitting carries with him: Alvin Kamara. Kamara’s speed and burst compliments Hurd’s power and strength. Whether he’s in motion, in the slot or the backfield, Kamara is perhaps Tennessee’s most versatile offensive playmaker.

After those two, there’s John Kelly, who averaged 4.1 yards per carry last season mostly late in blowout wins. Kelly should strive to be a serviceable backup when Hurd and Kamara need a break this season.

Newcomer Carlin Fils-Aime should provide more speed to the Tennessee offense. The Florida native will most likely fill Kamara’s role should he bolt for the NFL after this season.

By the numbers:

  • Hurd (UT career) 467 rushes, 2187 yards (12th in UT history), 4.7 yards/carry, 17 TDs
  • Kamara (UT career) 107 rushes, 698 yards, 34 receptions, 291 yards, 10 total TDs, 6.5 yards/carry
  • UT had its best rushing season on the ground in school history (2,908 yards) last year
  • UT finished second in the SEC behind LSU with 223.7 yard per game in 2015

Projected initial depth chart:

Hurd and Kamara will split time at running back, with Hurd receiving the bulk of the carries. Expect Kamara to be used in the slot and as a second running back out of the backfield as well. John Kelly should be the clear third option, with Carlin Fils-Aime getting some carries as a change of pace back late in big wins.

Redshirt Watch:

Fils-Aime could get some carries early in the non-conference schedule, but there’s a chance he could redshirt if the three in front of him stay healthy. Newcomer Jeremy Lewis could redshirt his freshman season.

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us