Jabari Small has been hard at work this offseason to prepare and compete for Tennessee’s starting running back position. Small will lead the group of inexperienced backs as the Vols look to replace their two leading rushers from 2020. Preseason First-Team All-SEC offensive lineman Cade Mays even referenced a familiar name when talking highly of Small on Tuesday.
“[Jabari Small] reminds me a lot of a guy like Alvin Kamara,” Mays said on Tuesday.
In addition, Mays talked about the types of qualities they share at the position.
“The burst he had, the balance he had, and really just the vision he had to be able to feel the field and feel defenders,” Mays said about Kamara. “I feel like Jabari does a really good job of that with his vision, agility, and balance.”
Both Kamara and Small share a similar body size, as well. Kamara is listed at 5-foot-10 and 215-pounds, whereas Small is at 5-foot-11 and 206-pounds. With neither one assumed to be a power back, both individuals rely on other traits—things like speed, agility, vision, and elusiveness.
Tennessee has plenty of question marks as they continue through the first week of training camp. Although, that is not a surprise, nor is it different from spring camp. Tennessee’s two leading rushers from 2020, Eric Gray and Ty Chandler, both transferred from the program in the off-season.
Mays also shared his thoughts on Tennessee’s inexperienced running backs group as a whole on Tuesday. Jabari Small is the most experienced in the Tennessee room as only a sophomore. Mays talked about if he thinks having experienced running backs is an overrated concept.
“I think that’s overrated,” Mays responded. “If the hole is there, the running backs – you know, they’re on scholarship – are going to find them. So if the holes are there, I think we will be successful no matter who is back there.”
You can watch video footage of Tennessee’s first fall camp practice here and find the video of coach Heupel’s post-practice press conference here.