Vols Position Preview: Running Back

    by -

    Photo Credit: Will Boling/RTI

    Seniors: None
    Juniors: None
    Sophomores: Ty Chandler, Tim Jordan, Trey Coleman
    Freshman: None

    Outlook:

    With Carlin Fils-aime moving to the secondary for the start of spring practices, this unit is incredibly thin on scholarship players for the spring.

    Tennessee will have a trio of rising sophomores to keep an eye on and develop at running back this spring. Ty Chandler will undoubtedly get the bulk of the first team carries whenever the offense is on the field for drills, and both Tim Jordan and Trey Coleman will be fighting for positioning on the depth chart.

    Chandler showed off some of his skills as a true freshman last year, but for whatever reason he wasn’t given more opportunity to shine. He finished his first season with just 71 carries for 305 yards and two scores while also catching 10 passes for 108 yards. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown and averaged 24.5 yards per return on 17 returns last year.

    The Nashville native flashed plenty of potential as a freshman, but now he’ll be adjusting to a new offense. This spring will be very important for him to learn the new schemes and change his play to fit more into a pro-style offense. Chandler was brought in to play in a spread offense, but he did play a little more pro sets in high school. Now he needs to improve his pass and run blocking and add a little weight to his frame.

    Tim Jordan made some contributions to Tennessee’s offense last year, picking up 11 carries for 52 yards and hauling in eight receptions for 65 yards. But most of his playing time came in garbage time. His build and style of play is fairly conducive to the Vols’ new offensive style, and this spring will be important for his development.

    Trey Coleman appeared in a handful of games and only totaled 12 total yards of offense last season. At 5-foot-11, 214 pounds, Coleman has the body type that could be effective in the more run-heavy offense the Vols are likely to employ. Can he make enough progress this spring to move up the depth chart? He’ll have plenty of opportunities, that’s for sure.

    Michigan State grad transfer Madre London and true freshman Jeremy Banks will join this group after spring ends. But right now, Tennessee has just three scholarship backs on the roster. This is an important spring for all three, but it’s especially important for both Jordan and Coleman to try and establish themselves on the depth chart before the newcomers arrive.

    Initial Projected Depth Chart:

    It would shock me if Ty Chandler isn’t the back getting most of the first team reps this spring. Jordan and Coleman will fight for chief No. 2 duties, but either one could and likely will be unseated by London once he arrives. Unless either Jordan or Coleman have a breakout spring, I expect one of them to eventually be the No. 3 back and have to fight off freshman Jeremy Banks to hold on to that spot.

    Check out our previous position preview piece on the Vols’ wide receivers