Jamal Lewis: Vols’ 2019 Class Will “Bring Us Back to the Top”

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    (Photo via @Jamal31Lewis on Twitter)

    Jamal Lewis is one of the greatest running backs to play at Tennessee. If not for an injury that cut his season short in 1998, Lewis might be atop more of Tennessee’s career rushing marks. Even with that injury, Lewis is littered throughout UT’s record books, and he was part of Tennessee’s roster during the most successful run in the program’s history.

    Lewis knows what it takes to have Tennessee running at a high level. And he’s a big believer in what UT’s current coaches are doing to bring the Vols back to prominence.

    On his official Twitter account, Lewis told Vol fans that they’re going to be “fired up” about Tennessee’s new group of Vols in the 2019 class, and he believes they’re the class that’s going to start bringing UT “back to the top.”

    Tennessee’s 2019 signing class ranked 12th in the country according to 247Sports, and they were the only team with a losing record in the 2018 season to finish inside the top 12. The Vols actually finished with a class ranked higher than teams like Ohio State, Notre Dame, Washington, Penn State, and USC.

    In fact, Tennessee’s average recruiting rating of 90.49 on 247Sports is the Vols’ highest average rating per recruit in a decade. Not even Butch Jones’ classes in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 classes had an average rating that high.

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    The Vols’ class is comprised of 21 official signees and two other commits who are likely to blueshirt with Tennessee. Of the 21 official signees, 12 of those players are rated as four-stars or higher on 247Sports. That means well over half of UT’s signees are rated as four or five-stars in the 2019 class.

    Lewis isn’t the only former Vol to get excited over Tennessee’s signing class, though.

    Peerless Price, who was teammates with Lewis and a standout wide receiver for the Vols, tweeted out that he’s not only excited about his quarterback, Tee Martin, returning to coach at Tennessee, but he believes a national title is returning to Knoxville “soon.”

    Both Lewis and Price were on Tennessee’s 1998 National Championship team, though Lewis suffered a season-ending injury during the regular season. Price set the record for most receiving yards in a bowl game for Tennessee during the Vols’ National Championship Game, hauling in 199 receiving yards in Tennessee’s 23-17 victory over Florida State.

    Lewis played for Tennessee from 1997-99 and finished his career with the fifth-most rushing yards in program history. His 2,677 rushing yards are just behind Johnnie Jones’ career mark of 2,852 yards. The 1,364 rushing yards that Lewis totaled in 1997 still stands as the third-most rushing yards in a single season in UT history. His 13 career games of 100 or more rushing yards is tied with Johnnie Jones for the third-most in school history.

    Price played for the Vols from 1995-98 and still has the third-most receiving yards in a career in UT history. His 2,298 career receiving yards rank only behind Joey Kent and Marcus Nash in school history. He’s also fourth in program history in career receiving touchdowns (19) and career receptions (147).