The Tennessee Volunteers enter their bye week at 2-1 through three games. The Vols kicked off the 2014 season with two dominant wins over Utah State and Arkansas State before dropping a 34-10 loss to Oklahoma last weekend.

Tennessee is still in rebuilding mode, however, looks to make a surprising impact in the SEC this season. With the Vols off this week, here’s three bold predictions for the team moving forward.

  1. Jalen Hurd will make Freshman All-SEC First Team: Jalen Hurd has been outstanding through his first three collegiate games. The five-star prospect has seen a progression in each game, rushing for 29 yards in Week 1, 83 yards in Week 2 and 97 yards in Week 3. In Week 2, Hurd became the first Tennessee running back to be named SEC Freshman of the Week since Arian Foster in 2005. He will need to continue as the Vols’ feature back to beat out the likes of LSU’s Leonard Fournette and several others for first team honors.
  2. A.J. Johnson will lead the SEC in tackles: A.J. Johnson enters Week 4 as the SEC’s leading tackler. But facing a bye week, its a sure bet that his 29 tackles will be surpassed this weekend. Johnson has been one of the bright spots on several bad Tennessee defenses during his career and finally sees enough talent around him to lead an impressive group. The emergence of Jalen Reeves-Maybin has only pushed Johnson even further and will likely continue to do so as the season continues.
  3. Tennessee will break its bowl game drought: At 2-1, Tennessee needs four more wins to gain bowl eligibility. The Vols have three highly favored matchups remaining against Chattanooga, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, For Tennessee to break its three-year bowl drought, it will need to pull off an upset. Outside of the aforementioned games, the Vols’ remaining schedule is at Georgia (Sept. 27), vs. Florida (Oct. 4), at Ole Miss (Oct. 18), at Alabama (Oct. 25), at South Carolina (Nov. 1) and vs. Missouri (Nov. 22). To earn bowl eligibility, Tennessee will need to win at least one of these tough matchups.