Elite Running Back Lists Vols Among Favorites

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    (Photo via @rockwitaust on Twitter)

    The Vols are having an important recruiting weekend this weekend as they host the top offensive tackle in the 2019 class and a talented cornerback out of Georgia. And they got some more good news on the recruiting front from one of the top running backs in the 2019 class as well.

    Austin Jones is a four-star running back out of Oakland, California who was offered by Jeremy Pruitt and his staff back in mid-December. And on Friday night, he put out his top 10 teams in his recruitment, and the Vols made the cut.

    The Vols join a proverbial who’s who of college football in Jones’ top 10. Penn State, Florida, Oregon, Stanford, Notre Dame, and UCLA are just some of the teams on Jones’ list, and he holds offers from over two dozen schools total.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Jones is the No. 76 overall player and the No. 6 running back in the 2019 class. He has unofficially visited Cal, Oregon State, and Stanford so far this year.

    As far as running backs go, you won’t find many more versatile than Jones. Not only is he an electric ball carrier out of the backfield, but Jones is also a capable pass catcher and runs downfield on routes as well. At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, he’s not quite the big bodied back that the Vols have been recruiting lately. But a look at his film shows why Tennessee is interested in him, because he’s dynamic with the ball in his hands. He’s elusive and stronger than you might think, and he has great vision. He can even run between the tackles effectively.

    Last season, Jones ran for 1,560 yards and 23 touchdowns on just 145 carries and caught 15 passes for 368 yards and four scores according to MaxPreps. In his career, Jones has amassed an astounding 4,897 rushing yards and 62 touchdowns on 721 carries heading into his senior season. He’s also caught 50 passes for 670 yards and six scores for Bishop O’Dowd High School.

    The Vols don’t currently have any running backs committed in their 2019 class, and it will be tough for them to pull a highly-talented player like Jones out of California. But offensive coordinator Tyson Helton has connections out that way, and Chris Weinke, the Vols’ running backs coach, has plenty of ties in the recruiting world as well.

    Don’t count the Vols out with Jones, especially since it doesn’t seem they’re particularly enamored with a lot of backs in this 2019 cycle.



    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.