Tennessee is targeting several prospects within their own state borders during the 2020 recruiting cycle. One of those targets has included the Vols among his list of finalists.
Jabari Small is a three-star running back who plays for Briarcrest Christian in Memphis. On Friday, he tweeted out his list of top six schools and said he would be focusing on those specific schools “until I commit.” Tennessee was included with Michigan, Texas A&M, Missouri, Ole Miss, and Arkansas. Small also acknowledged that “some things may change over time,” but he intends to focus on just those six schools moving forward.
Although I know some things may change over time, I will be focusing on these 6 schools until I commit. #GodGotMe
— Jabari Small 2️⃣ (@JMS4_) May 24, 2019
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Small is the No. 736 overall player, No. 10 all-purpose back, and No. 23 player in the state of Tennessee in the 2020 class. Small measures in at 5-foot-10, 195 pounds and has played mostly at running back at Briarcrest Christian but has also lined up at slot receiver and on defense.
The Vols first sent an offer out to Small back on June 25th, just a couple days after he camped at UT. Small unofficially visited Tennessee when they hosted Alabama during the 2018 season, and he again visited the Vols in mid-March of this year. Small’s primary recruiter at Tennessee is Vol running backs coach David Johnson, and the two have a strong relationship. Tennessee’s defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley has also been in contact with Small and visited him in mid-April.
Not only is Small a top in-state target for the Vols, but he’s teammates with one of UT’s top overall targets in the 2020 class. Small plays with offensive tackle Omari Thomas at Briarcrest Christian, and the two have expressed interest in playing together in college. Thomas is rated as the No. 72 overall player and No. 3 prospect in the state of Tennessee per the 247Sports Composite rankings.
As for Small, he’s a quick back who displays really good vision and footwork. He’s a shifty running back who sees a hole and attacks it. He doesn’t have a lot of wasted movement, and he tends to go north-south far more often than trying to dance around and go east-west. Small is also tougher than you might think, and he just bounces off defenders at times. He’s also a very productive returner on kick-offs and just has a lot of dynamic ability. He’ll need to add some more muscle to his frame, and he’s not a bigger, every down back most likely. But Small has a lot of potential to like.
In his junior season with Briarcrest, Small amassed 1,118 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on just 141 carries according to MaxPreps, giving him a 7.9 yard per carry average. He also pulled down 21 receptions for 244 yards and three scores, and he returned a kick-off for a score as well. Small also plays on defense and had an interception last year, giving him five in his high school career.
Tennessee had a running back committed to them in the 2020 class in three-star Ebony Jackson, but the Georgia running back prospect decommitted from the Vols a little over a week ago after giving UT his pledge in April. The Vols are likely to take two running backs in their 2020 class.