LSU RB Leonard Fournette has been talked about as a 2016 Heisman Trophy candidate since before Derrick Henry was named the ’15 winner. Fournette is an obvious candidate for the award this year, but should another SEC running back be considered for college football’s highest individual honor?

ESPN says Tennessee RB Jalen Hurd is a sleeper Heisman candidate for ’16.

In a list of five sleepers from the Power 5, Hurd joins Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, Baylor QB Seth Russell, Penn State RB Saquon Barkley and UCLA QB Seth Rosen as potential invitees not receiving the preseason hype.

Alex Scarborough offers the following reason for why Hurd is the SEC’s sleeper candidate:

He’s not the most talked-about player in his conference, his position or even on his own team. Some early Heisman odds have him trailing Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb and Bo Scarbrough among SEC running backs, and Scarbrough has never started a game. Even Hurd’s teammate, quarterback Joshua Dobbs, steals his thunder. Making matters worse, fellow Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara steals his carries. But forget that! Hurd is a beast. Have you seen the video of him running 23.1 mph on a treadmill? Ridiculous. The 6-4, 240-pound junior is an athletic marvel with the ability to run with power and speed, as well as catch the football. Think of him as the SEC’s version Christian McCaffrey. With 2,187 rushing yards and 21 career touchdowns, Hurd should be a household name by now. If Tennessee competes for a spot in the playoff, as many expect, he will be before long.

If Hurd can overcome the potential issues of losing highlight carries to Dobbs and Kamara, there’s no reason he can’t get enough attention to be a nationally recognized candidate by time the finalists for New York City are announced. Tennessee will have plenty of high-profile contests, with opportunities for Hurd to get properly noticed.

In two seasons, Hurd has logged 467 carries 2,187 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has grabbed headlines recently for his rigorous offseason training.

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Sports betting in Tennessee officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.