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Report: Veteran Tennessee Running Back Opting Out Of Citrus Bowl

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee running back Jabari Small will not play in the Vols’ Citrus Bowl matchup against Iowa, KnoxNews Adam Sparks reported on Tuesday. The senior, who still has one more year of eligibility, has not announced his plans for the 2024 football season or put out an official post about the Citrus Bowl.

According to Sparks’ report, Small has not participated in bowl practices and did not travel with the team to Orlando on Wednesday.

The Memphis native was a major part of Tennessee’s running back room for the final three years of his four-year Volunteer tenure. Small totaled 100-plus carries in both his sophomore and junior seasons before rushing for 475 yards and two touchdowns on 95 carries in his senior season.

Over his four-year Tennessee carer, Small totaled 2,118 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns on 418 carries. The 5-foot-11, 213-pound running back totaled 700-plus yards in two of his four seasons.

More From RTI: Tennessee Football Defensive Back Announces Transfer Destination

Losing Small for the bowl game is a blow for Tennessee they prepare to face one of the Big 10’s best run defenses. Small joins fellow veteran running back Jaylen Wright in opting out of the Citrus Bowl after Wright declared for the NFL Draft earlier this month.

With Small and Wright opting out of the Citrus Bowl, Tennessee will lean heavily on its underclassmen duo of Dylan Sampson and Cameron Seldon. Sampson totaled 471 rushing yards this season as part of Tennessee’s running back rotation while Seldon played only sparingly in blowouts.

Iowa boasts one of the nation’s best run defenses, ranking 13th nationally by allowing only 102 yards per game. Tennessee has leaned on its strong running game all season but will have to find success without two of its top three rushers in the Citrus Bowl.

Kickoff between Tennessee and Iowa in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl is at 1 p.m. ET on New Years Day at Camping World Stadium. ABC is broadcasting the bowl matchup.

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4 Responses

  1. This transfer portal is going to end up ruining college and watering down the talent in Pro ball

  2. If any player opts out of of any game he should immediately pay in full his scholarship cost. There is no difference in bowl game or a crappy first game of the season.

  3. He doesn’t want to participate, immediately move him off campus. Let him experience life not being taken care of. No bed no food or anything else the university provides. He can leave on a 1 way y ticket to wherever he came from. Clothes, shoes only, not even a.Jersey provided by Tennessee. Definitely no recommendations to any NFL team except he’s a top notch QUITTER!

  4. Move him off campus immediately. Not even his next meal be free. Buy him a 1 way bus to let to anywhere he wants to go. Only allow him his clothes and shoes, not even a jersey for memorabiliia. The only recommendation to a NFL team is he’s a wonderful QUITTER!

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