10. Jalen Hurd, RB
Let’s start with a controversial one right off the bat, shall we?
Say what you want about Jalen Hurd’s tenure at Tennessee, but there’s no denying he was one of the most talented players to take the field for the Vols this decade, and he certainly is one of the most memorable players to don the orange and white over the last 10 years.
Hurd would’ve been Tennessee’s all-time leading rusher had he not left the team mid-season in 2016. For that, I considered not including him on this list. But when you look at his actual production on the field and how important he was to the success of UT’s offense from 2014-16, I just couldn’t justify leaving him off.
In 33 games as a Vol, Hurd ran for 2,638 yards and 20 touchdowns while also catching 67 passes for 492 yards and six scores. He touched the ball a whopping 656 times in his two and a half seasons, and his 589 career carries ranks second behind only Arian Foster’s 650 attempts. Hurd’s career rushing total places him sixth all-time in school history, and he’s just one of eight running backs in UT history to run for more than 2,600 yards in a career. His 11 games of 100 or more rushing yards are the fifth-most in a UT career by a running back.
Hurd was a unique athlete that was somewhat improperly utilized by Tennessee’s coaching staff. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound back was a dangerous runner and a capable pass catcher, a skillset he showed off even more at Baylor after transferring there and switching to wide receiver.
Hurd’s legacy will be forever tarnished because of how he handled the situation between himself and Butch Jones (though Hurd is certainly not the only guilty party in the matter), but there’s no denying he was one of the better players to suit up for the Vols this decade.