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Five Potential Breakout Players for the Vols in 2018

1. Ty Chandler, RB

Photo By Kyle Zedaker/Tennessee Athletics

Last year, Ty Chandler barely got a chance to show off his potential. But when he did, he shined pretty bright.

Chandler was the Vols’ primary backup at running back last season, but for whatever reason Tennessee’s previous coaching staff chose to run John Kelly into the ground rather than give Chandler a reasonable amount of carries. As a true freshman, Chandler only totaled 71 carries and 10 catches in 12 games. But he totaled 305 rushing yards and 108 receiving yards on those minimal touches, and he also returned 91 yards for a touchdown against Indiana State.

Chandler had a chance to burst into the national spotlight when he started in place of John Kelly against Kentucky after Kelly was suspended a game for marijuana possession. And Chandler erupted for 22 carries for 120 yards and added 3 catches for 33 yards and scored twice in that game. By all accounts, that should’ve been the turning point for Chandler and helped him have a breakout freshman season, even if the Vols did end up losing that game.

But that wasn’t the case. Chandler only earned 22 total carries over the Vols’ last four games, and he only caught one more pass in those final four games.

This year, Chandler is projected to be the Vols’ starter at running back. And he shined in that role in the Orange & White Game. He’ll have his work cut out for him with Michigan State grad transfer Madre London coming in this fall and with Tim Jordan looking more comfortable in the Vols’ new offense, but Chandler should be in line to get the bulk of the carries this season. And he showed last year that he has the potential to be a big time play-maker when he actually touches the ball consistently.

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