Every time Tennessee gets a commitment in either football or men’s basketball, we will write up an impact report looking at what that recruit does well, what we feel he needs to improve in his game, and what his projected impact with the Vols could be over the next few years.
Latest Commit: Jabari Small, APB
Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 185 pounds
School: Briarcrest Christian (Tennessee)
Home Town: Memphis, TN
247Sports Composite: No. 641 overall, No. 11 APB
247Sports: No. 821 overall, No. 14 APB
Rivals: 5.7 rating No. 13 APB
Notable Offers: Auburn, Ole Miss, Kentucky
What we like:
Talk about a do-it-all back. Jabari Small did a little bit of everything for Briarcrest Christian, and he excelled at it all, too. Small has really good vision, and he reminds me a bit of Eric Gray in the fact that he can make one cut and then bolt to the end zone. I think Gray is the more talented back, but that’s not a knock on Small at all. Small is shifty, dynamic, and dangerous. He’s hard to bring down and doesn’t usually go down on first contact. I like his combination of speed and toughness. It’s not what you first expect from him when you see his frame.
Small is extremely versatile. He’s dangerous as a pass catcher not only out of the backfield, but also lined up as a receiver. He can already run a few routes and has a good catch radius for a running back. On special teams, he really gets to show off what he can do in space, and he’s as dangerous there as he is out of the backfield.
Places to improve:
Small definitely needs to add some weight to his body. He’s not wire-thin by any means, but if he’s going to stand up to the rigors of the SEC (whether it’s on offense or defense), he needs to add another 10-15 pounds. Sometimes Small can move a little too East and West rather than hitting the hole and just going. He can get away with that in high school, but it’ll cost him in the SEC. It’s also not a huge issue with him, but it’s something I noticed a few times. Overall, though, Small is a very underrated back, in my opinion. I don’t necessarily think he’ll be an All-SEC star, but he was a finalist for the Mr. Football award for a reason.
There’s a thought that Small could eventually move to defensive back, and knowing Jeremy Pruitt, that wouldn’t shock me at all. Small played some on defense and even picked off six passes in high school. But right now, I would say he’ll likely be used on offense at Tennessee. I think Small has a very high ceiling as an all-purpose back in the SEC if he can add the necessary weight. His vision and overall shiftiness really impress me, and he’s just very dangerous with the ball in his hands.
With the Vols’ loaded running back room next season, I’m not sure how much Small will play immediately. But he could be a fun athlete to watch in the coming years.