Tennessee Running Back Named SEC Freshman Of The Week

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    Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

    Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright is the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance in the Vols’ 45-21 win over Vanderbilt.

    Wright ran for 112 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the win over the instate rival. Wright’s 7.5 yards per carry is impressive on its own but is even more impressive given that his longest run was only 13 yards.

    “It’s been great to see him mature each game,” running back Jabari Small said postgame. “He’s learning. Coach (Jerry) Mack has done a great job developing him and teaching him the ins and outs. There’s a big difference in playing just a couple of snaps and playing the whole game. He’s getting better with each snap and each carry. It’s been fun to watch him.”

    Wright’s had an up-and-down freshman season. The North Carolina native was Tennessee’s third string running back to start the season but earned ample opportunities due to injuries to Jabari Small and Tiyon Evans.

    The speed back didn’t take full advantage of those opportunities including a 15 yard performance on 11 carries against Pitt. In the middle of the season, Wright dealt with minor injuries and Len’Neth Whitehead passed him as Tennessee’s third string running back.

    However, in the past weeks Wright has regained that spot and Evans has played just two plays since the Alabama game. Evans also announced his plans to enter the transfer portal last week.

    That’s opened up opportunities again for Wright who has capitalized this time. The freshman ran for 50 yards on seven carries against Kentucky before totaling 83 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries against South Alabama.

    Entering the bowl game, Wright has 355 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

    Wright joins Whitehead as the only Vols to earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors this season. Whitehead split the award for his performance against Missouri.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.